Down syndrome teenage girl

Sex and relationships, wanting independence, good personal hygiene, needing personal space and building good self-esteem are all issues that you will need to think about as your son or daughter grows up. This will probably not happen automatically so it may be necessary to contact the local authority to request this assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to look at what the needs of the person are likely to be when they turn The local authority should then give an indication as to whether the person is likely to have needs eligible for support at The thinking behind this is that it should ensure that a young person is known to the local authority and may help with planning ahead for adult support and services. If you would like more support with any of these issues, or if you have another question, please call the DSA Helpline on Fundraising Events From baking a cake to running a marathon, we have events for everyone to take part in! Find out how our Information Team can help you and how to get in touch with support groups in your local area. You will find a lot of information on these pages. So where did it all begin?
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1. Puberty

Part 2: What do we know about the progress of teenagers with Down syndrome, their daily lives and their needs? Down Syndrome News and Update , 2 3 , The teenage years are a time of considerable development for all young people as they move from dependence on their families towards independent adult lives. This article follows on from the first article in the last issue Down Syndrome News and Update 2. This study collected information on all aspects of the development of a representative group of 46 teenagers. The reader is referred to the first article for details of the research and the data collection. The previous article presented the broad trends and indicated clearly that teenagers with Down syndrome are making considerable progress in all areas of their development during their teenage years. On page 47 of the last issue Figure 1 illustrates significant progress in practical daily living skills, in social skills and in spoken language and literacy between the ages of 10 and 20 years. There is considerable variability in the progress of teenagers with Down syndrome, with some acquiring skills faster than others, but everyone tends to still be making significant steps forward. We certainly do not have evidence of a 'ceiling' or 'plateau' in development for individuals with Down syndrome in childhood that used to be suggested by teachers and researchers.
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Your Care Instructions

Most teens with Down syndrome are able to live healthy, happy lives. Puberty starts at about the same age for teens with Down syndrome as for other young people. Your child will have many of the same sexual feelings as other teens. Teens with Down syndrome have the same social needs as other teens. Most will want to date, make friends, and have close relationships. You can help prepare your child to do these things. Teach your child about proper social skills and behaviour. Be aware of the social challenges and risks your child may face at this time. For example, these teens are more at risk for sexual abuse, injury, and other harm. They often don't have the same understanding of physical boundaries.

Teen years, no doubt, come with expected challenges. For teens with Down syndrome DS , the challenges are exponentially greater. Although DS is associated with mental retardation, the vast majority of people with DS have only mild to moderate intellectual disability. Still, this can lead to a great deal of internal stress for the adolescent and anxiety and stress for the parents.

Many issues must be considered for the adolescent with DS. Annual surveillance changes as the child ages and the need for intervention do as well. During infancy, it is important to do echocardiograms to identify and follow specific lesions. Dysmorphic features such as midfacial hypoplasia, tonsillar hypertrophy, and narrow ear canals also lead to issues that develop in the adolescent years. Chronic otitis, conductive hearing loss because of chronic middle-ear effusion or impacted cerumen, and enlarged tonsils can result in obstructive sleep apnea.

As individuals gain weight, these issues are further affected, and a sleep study may be required. Annual hearing screens are recommended. Musculoskeletal disorders such as ligamentous laxity and atlantoaxial instability can also present with complications in the adolescent years. Pes planus is a very common finding that can further lead to hip and knee pain. Now, the most pressing and, likely, most overlooked issue is the issue of sexuality.

We spend a great deal of time educating teens without DS about the risks of unprotected sex and exposures to STIs, but many assume that these issues do not affect teens with DS. Secondary sexual characteristics develop in the same manner and at the same age that they do in children without DS. Therefore, it is a safe assumption that sexual curiosity and arousal do as well.

Given that there can be varying levels of mental impairment, the approach to sex education needs to be developmentally appropriate. Normalizing the feelings and having discussions on appropriate and inappropriate expression are important. As with all teens, acceptance and inclusion are of utmost importance. Physical and learning disabilities set them apart despite shared sexual and emotional development. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and behavior issues. Understanding that these are real issues for the adolescent with DS is important when providing the appropriate resources and support.

Management of the menstrual cycle can add new challenges for both the adolescent and the parent and, thus, should be investigated during health maintenance visits.

Amenorrhea can result from introduction of hormonal therapy and should be considered. Sexual abuse also is increased in this age group, so close supervision and awareness of this issue are important.

Assisting parents of children with DS through the teen years is imperative. Making them aware of local support groups and national organizations for children with disabilities will help them navigate these years. Pearce is a pediatrician in Frankfort, Ill. She reported no relevant financial disclosures.

Email her at pdnews frontlinemedcom. J Pediatr Health Care. Clin Obes. Skip to main content. Down syndrome in adolescents. By Francine Pearce, MD. Francine Pearce. Adolescent Medicine. Menu Menu Presented by. Menu Close.

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