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
- Family Planning Queensland
Information and resources to support education about puberty, sexuality and relationships
- Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability (QCIDD)
Health information and resources for medical professionals, families, service providers and people with disabilities
- Adults Living Adult Lives
An article about the importance of allowing adults with Down syndrome the right to choice, personal power and life experiences
- Health and aging
An article about age-related health issues associated with Down syndrome
- Mental Health
An article that explores the issues around mental wellness and people with Down syndrome
- Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease
An introductory article to the link between Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease
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
USEFUL DOWNLOADS AND LINKS
- Department of Education, Training and Employment
To find out more about transition to post school for students with disability.
- Parent to Parent QLD
Transition Guide for Students with a Disability - Version 2014.
- Support for School Leavers (Resources)
Information to support young people with a disability after they leave school.
The National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) Program works strategically to assist people with disability access and participate in tertiary education and subsequent employment.
- My Future My Life
My Future My Life is an initiative designed to help students with a disability pursue the goals they have set for themselves for when they complete school.
- Support For School Leavers (QLD Government)
Disability Services Queensland provides a range of supports to help young people with a disability move from school to adult life.
- Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services
Assist people with a disability and their families to access the support and services they need as they move through the different stages of their life.
- Information for Youth in Queensland
To find out more about the options available to youth in Queensland.