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Navigating Down Syndrome


Adult Life

Adults with Down syndrome are enjoying living alone, with a spouse, with a roommate, or with family members.  Some of their living situations are with the traditional support and others are with more creative support.  As people with Down syndrome are given more opportunities, they are able to become accomplished writers, musicians, photographers, poets, athletes, etc.   There is no doubt that people with Down syndrome make the world a better place and with the proper support, their possibilities are limitless.  

Post-Secondary Education

The U.S. federal government is considering passing a  bill called RISE (Respond, Innovate, Succeed, and Empower) that would make it easier for students with disabilities to transition to college. This bill specifically "spells out that students who already have documentation of a disability can continue to use that same documentation when they enter higher education. If passed, the measure would free individuals who have received special education services from having to undergo additional diagnostic testing."  Learn More.  *As of July 2020, this bill is still in committee.

While not all adults with Down syndrome will go on to secondary education, a variety of colleges are providing settings for those with Down syndrome to not only learn in the classroom but to live on campus as well.  The secondary educational services that are provided for students with special needs vary by state.  In the state of Utah, the following services are provided by the following colleges: 

  • Utah State University:  Elevated Climb Higher
  • Think College: National organization providing higher education information and options for people with an intellectual disability.

Transportation for Adults with Ds

The Utah Transit Authority has paratransit buses that provide service from Brigham City to Payson for people with cognitive or physical disabilities who are not able to independently use the UTA fixed-route bus service. According to the UTA, "Trips can be scheduled in advance and provides riders with curb-to-curb transportation between home, work, appointments, and community destinations. UTA's paratransit fleet includes wheelchair-accessible buses and vans. To utilize paratransit services, riders must be approved through an in-person interview and abilities assessment." Learn more about paratransit services and eligibility here.


Work opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome vary by state and community.  Employment ranges from supported employment to independent employment. Individuals with Down syndrome can be excellent employees and volunteers benefiting themselves as well as their employers.  The following are some organizations in Utah that train and work with individuals with Down syndrome to find employment.  UDSF does not endorse these organizations but offers them merely as a potential resource.  List coming soon.

Day Programs for Adults with Ds

The following is a list of organizations that have day programs for individuals with special needs.  Many of these programs provide activities that promote socialization, life skills, and friendships. UDSF does not endorse any of the organizations, this list is merely informational to aid in your research. 

Chrom21 Club

The Utah Down Syndrome Foundation's Chrom21 Club offers monthly activities for adults 18 years and older with Down syndrome in the Salt Lake area.  Activities include karaoke, dances, and game nights. Registration for each event is required. Learn more.  

Social Security Benefits Eligibility

Find out what Social Security benefits your adult with Down syndrome may be eligible for and when, use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST).  

Health Care Information: Adults

According to the National Down Syndrome Congress, "In our lifetime, the single most dramatic change effected by our community has been the astounding improvement of the health of people with Down syndrome. Through the caring innovation of medical professionals, the typical lifespan of an individual with Down syndrome now approaches 60 years of age, the average for all people."

Medical care for adults with Down syndrome is similar to that of the general adult population, but with additional screening for conditions specific to Down syndrome.  Regular check-ups for adults with Down syndrome can help reduce the adverse effects of many conditions if they are discovered early on.  Some states have Down Syndrome Medical Care Centers, but Utah does not.  If you have medical questions that you are not getting answers to in Utah, you can contact one of these Medical Care Centers and see if they can help direct you.   

Depending upon the health of the individual, many families in Utah take their adult with Down syndrome to the doctor they take their other family members to.  If you are in need of finding a physician for an adult with Down syndrome, UDSF recommends you go to its closed Facebook group and ask for physicians in your area from other parents. Once you find a physician, the American Family Physician recommends the healthcare guidelines be shared with your doctor:

        Healthcare Guidelines for Adults with Ds

Although UDSF's policy is not to endorse specific physicians, the following are some recommendations from our UDSF community of services for adults with Down syndrome in Utah. 

  • University of Utah Neurobehavior Home.  Located in Salt Lake, U of U Neurobehavior sees individuals with intellectual disabilities of all ages who are on Utah Medicaid. There is usually a waiting list so contact them directly for availability.  The waiting list can be shorter for adults. 

Mental Health

Although UDSF's policy is not to endorse specific health care providers, the following are some recommendations from our UDSF community.

Additional Community Resources (Compiled by Utah Parent Center)

Aging and Down Syndrome Webinar

The following webinar and guidebook are published by the National Down Syndrome Society.  In the webinar, Dr. Julie Moran summarizes some of the medical issues facing adults with Down syndrome as they age.

  • Calvin Curtis is UDSF's Platinum Plus Sponsor for our Mighty Steps for Down Syndrome Walk 2020. His generosity and support over the past few years have made a real difference in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome and their families across Utah.

  • Gossner Cache Silver Sponsor MS 2019

  • At Catalyst Behavior Solutions we prepare our clients to reach their full potential and achieve future success through the use of evidence-based and data-driven treatment methods. We believe in the growth of people of all abilities.

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