Youth & Adults

Changes in social attitudes and government policies assist in ensuring that the future for people with Down syndrome contains a larger degree of independence, privacy, education, housing and employment than has been available in the past. Many adults with Down syndrome are now living independently in the community, sometimes with support from friends, family or organisations. They are employed in valued roles in either supported or open employment, are enjoying friendships and relationships, and some are choosing to marry. Interestingly, with these changes to quality of life, and better access to quality medical care, people with Down syndrome are now living longer, meaningful lives, many into their 60's and 70's. 

It is not the aim of parenthood to continue caring for your sons or daughters throughout life, but rather prepare them during the childhood years to live as independently as possible in adulthood. The same is true of children Down syndrome, although letting go can sometimes be more difficult in this
situation. Parents naturally worry about normal things like social pressures, vulnerability, sexuality and physical safety. By working through these issues and teaching the appropriate skills during childhood and adolescence, when the time comes to leave home the change can be easier for both parent and child. It is essential that we recognise that all people with Down syndrome have the right to an education about their bodies, relationships and sexuality and this education needs to be ongoing, consistent and targeted. Family Planning Queensland are an invaluable source of information and resources around the topics of puberty, sexuality and relationships. 

Keeping healthy is just as important for adults with Down syndrome as the general population. We are learning more and more about the age related health issues specific to people with Down syndrome which helps us know what to look out for . It important to point out that just like the general population there is variability between people with Down syndrome. This means that while some of these related health issues may be relevant to one individual they may not be to another, just as no aging pattern will be exactly the same for all people with Down syndrome. You can find more information in the Useful Downloads and Links section below. 

All General Practitioners (GP's) should have the skills to effectively manage the health of an adult with Down syndrome. Your GP may find it helpful to know, however, that the Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability (QCIDD) provides a telephone consultation service that provides information and advice regarding health issues specific to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This service is available to health and disability professionals as well as family members and can be reached by phone on (07) 3163 2524. You will also find the QCIDD website listed below which has more information about the services they provide as well as lots of fantastic resources. 

Useful Downloads and Links

Further Information and Support

For further information and support please contact the team at Down Syndrome Queensland on (07) 3356 6655 or at [email protected]


Post School Opportunities

There are a number of post school opportunities available to students freshly out of high school, but also to adults who have been out of school for some time.  Depending on what the person’s interests and strengths are, they can choose to pursue a variety of different things – for example: paid work, study, volunteer work, work experience, apprenticeships/traineeships, and so on. These professional environments are a great way to develop and/or build on a person’s skills, but they will also give them the opportunity to build a stronger sense of confidence and independence that comes with these roles within the community.  Participating in local recreational, sporting, and interest groups also allows for adults with Down syndrome to be a social and active member of their community, which provides ideal opportunities for natural friendships and relationships to develop. It is important to continually pursue an active lifestyle and to support the person to pursue meaningful activities. 


Transition to Post School


Transition or change at any stage of a person’s life can be a difficult time.  Particularly for students with Down syndrome preparing to leave high school, these transitions can be a little more complex.  The process may require a lot more planning and support to ensure that the student feels empowered and are on the right path to being successful in their transition to adult life.  In being a part of the student’s support network, we want to ensure that the student will strive to achieve their personal goals and get the most out of life after they have finished school.

Transition can look at a number of different things:

• Career / Employment – Open or supported employment
• Further Education / Training – Obtaining the knowledge and skills to be able to go into a job
• Recreation / Leisure – Having an active and rich social life
• Community Awareness – Knowing the services and supports that are accessible to the person
• Life skills – Cooking, Safety, Finances, Independence, Health
• Transport – Getting a licence, Travel training
• Communication – Use of communication supports, Knowing how to communicate in different settings (e.g. Workplace, Social)
• Support Network / Relationships – Identifying who the supports are and creating a good network if necessary



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