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. They may not know when someone means to harm them.
Your teen may have a hard time with strong emotions that are normal at this age. At times these struggles can lead to mental health problems like depression.
As your child matures, occupational therapy can help. It teaches your teen the skills to hold a job. Your child will learn how to live on his or her own. Counseling may help with social skills. And it may help your child with his or her emotions. Your doctor can help answer your questions. Ask how to get help with your child's long-term care needs.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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