Through the years
Over the past 10 to 20 years the opportunities for people who have Down syndrome, to live productive, inclusive and fulfilling lives have become so much greater. Social attitudes, government policies and the efforts of young people and their families in forging new pathways, have assisted in ensuring a brighter future. Due to improvements in medical care, recognition of the benefits of a healthy diet and increased activity, life expectancy for a person with Down syndrome is now an average of 60, and that’s a long time to explore many possibilities.
Down Syndrome Queensland is available to discuss any issues of concern, both from adults who have Down syndrome and their parents or supporters. Through this role and many years of learning and information gathering, we can assist with referral to other services, sharing information to assist people to explore options for improving challenging situations or to find ways to a more fulfilled life.
We also provide a number of social and support services to youth and adults with Down syndrome.
Access to appropriate care within hospitals and the general health system can be difficult for people with Down syndrome. It is essential to ensure that everyone has access to good quality health care and is supported to access information and make informed health decisions.
Down Syndrome Australia has developed resources to provide evidenced-based advice to health professionals to better understand how to support people with Down syndrome within the health system. Resources have also been developed for people with Down syndrome and their families to be prepared and informed about hospital stays, building relationships with GPs and decision making.
Education is vitally important for all children for a range of reasons: skill acquisition, social and emotional development, independence and confidence building. For students with Down syndrome, just like their peers, education is an essential step on the pathway to a meaningful adult life. There has been quite a lot of research into the learning needs of students with Down syndrome that has shaped teaching practice and resource design. The most important thing we know is that students with Down syndrome can and will learn and that our expectations must be high in order for them to experience success.
See more about Down Syndrome Queensland Education Support Services
Adolescence is a time of change for any young person.
Often, this is the time when young people may want more independence and to be responsible for making decisions for themselves. There are also physical and psychological changes which happen during this time. Adolescence is also a transition point for many young people to start high school and to start thinking about what they want to do after they finish school.
Each of these areas bring opportunities and challenges for a young person with Down syndrome. Parents naturally worry about normal things like social pressures, vulnerability, sexuality and physical safety. Just like other teens, adolescents with Down syndrome also need to learn about their bodies, relationships and sexuality.
Youth and adults who have Down syndrome are now living more independent lives, in situations of their choosing, with the supports geared to their individual needs. Down Syndrome Australia have produced Living Independently Resources (including in Easy Read).
People with Down syndrome want to work for the same reasons as everyone else – so that they can be independent, contribute to society, earn their own money, learn new skills, meet new people, and feel valued. Down Syndrome Australia has developed resources to help people with Down syndrome and their families understand employment opportunities, as well as resources for employers.
In Australia people with Down syndrome have an average life expectancy of 60 years of age, and more than one in ten adults with Down syndrome will live to 70 years. Ageing and growing older brings with it many exciting milestones and some unexpected challenges for all people, and people with Down syndrome are no different.