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Adolescents and teens

Socially, teens who have Down syndrome have the same needs as everyone else. Most will want to date, socialize, and form intimate relationships. You can help your child develop healthy relationships by teaching appropriate social skills and behavior. Peer acceptance and self-esteem are affected by how well your preteen or teen addresses these issues.

Here are some tips:

  • As your child enters puberty, teach proper grooming and hygiene.
  • Encourage your child to take part in school and community activities. Teens usually graduate from high school, unless their disabilities are severe. Provide opportunities for your child to form healthy friendships. This is critical for your child's happiness and sense of belonging.
  • Be aware of the social difficulties and vulnerabilities your child faces. Start early to prepare your child for healthy adult relationships and the possibility of an intimate relationship.
    • Teach respect for his or her body and the bodies of others.
    • Talk openly about your morals and beliefs.
    • Provide sex education that is honest and presented in a way that your child can understand. Talk about the reproductive and intimate aspects of sex.
    • Discuss birth control methods and safer sex practices to prevent sexually transmitted infections.

During your child's teen years, you may also want to start planning for your child's future jobs and living arrangements. Many people who have Down syndrome live independently as adults in group homes or apartments with support services. But most group homes and community centers require a basic level of self-sufficiency, such as being able to eat, dress, and bathe independently. Vocational training helps many young adults learn how to work in many settings, such as stores, restaurants, and hotels.

Adults

Most adults who have Down syndrome function well in society. They often have regular jobs, have friends and romantic relationships, and take part in community activities.

An adult with Down syndrome benefits from working outside the home and having social activities. Having an active lifestyle with continued learning makes anyone, including a person with Down syndrome, feel more vibrant and feel that his or her life is meaningful.

Adult day care may be an option. Or the Special Olympics and other activities that emphasize exercise might be options. Encourage an adult's interests, such as in art or in hobbies such as drawing.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 07, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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