ADULT WITH DOWN SYNDROME
Adult with Down Syndrome
In the past, adults with Down syndrome were not given an opportunity to succeed. In 1983 their life expectancy was 25 and today they can live well into their sixties. Many adults with Down syndrome work and live independently. Some adults with Down syndrome live in a group environment. Several live at home with their parents or siblings.
Every person with Down syndrome has a wide range of capabilities and the options that are available for some may not be a good option for others. Some adults with Down syndrome are able to take public transit independently whereas others find it more challenging. The individuals who are able to travel on public transit may be able to live on their own, either independently or in a group setting with friends or family. There are housing opportunities available now, such as LIGHTS, that were not available before.
Many adults with Down syndrome attend the Community Integration through Cooperative Education (CICE) program at Humber College. There are many agencies available that offer employment opportunities for adults with Down syndrome, such as Aptus, JVS Toronto and Oden. They work closely with a job coach or mentor to slowly ease themselves into the position. It is important to find the right role for the individual’s personality and capabilities.
Adults require additional support in mastering life skills such as cooking. They are capable of learning to cook simple and healthy meals independently. With encouragement and positive feedback they are capable of more than we think they are.
As the adults with Down syndrome age, they are at a higher risk of developing gastrointestinal issues, sleep apnea, obesity, heart problems, Alzheimer’ and leukemia. Seeing a doctor regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to identify complications early and treat them.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Theresa