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Navigating Down Syndrome


Middle School/ High School

According to the National Down Syndrome Congress, many teens with Down syndrome find joy in their high school years as they participate in student government, athletics, theatre, campus clubs, dances, and prom.  Many individuals with Down syndrome across the state of Utah have found this to be true. 

Graduating From High School

The National Down Syndrome Congress also shows that graduating from high school with a full diploma is a reality for many teens with Down syndrome.  Emily Arthur from Draper, Utah not only graduated from Corner Canyon High School, but she spoke at her high school graduation.  

Planning for Life After High School

Like with all students, planning for life after high school is important.  While students with Down syndrome are still in secondary school (about age 16), the parents, IEP team, and the student should start planning for life as an adult. This includes employment (with or without support), independent living and self-care skills, and possibly higher education or vocational training. The following are some resources to help families plan.

  • Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disabilities. Family resources include suggested IEP goals that help students get ready for college, assistance with applying for college, financial information, and self-advocacy guide to selecting a college.

  • Their mission is to identify motivated college-bound students with disabilities and pair them with a peer guide to increase their success throughout the transition process.

Health Care Info: Ages 13 to 21

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) created the following guidelines for parents to help them with the special health care needs of their child with Down syndrome. This document can be downloaded and shared with your child’s doctor.             

Medical Check List (13 to 21)

Changes in Puberty

As early as middle school, puberty is something that families become aware of in their child with Down syndrome.  This can be a confusing time for both the parents and the child. The Utah Parent Center offers a two hour workshop for parents on this subject called, "Healthy Bodies: Maturation Program."  This workshop is specifically designed for parents of boys and another workshop is held for parents of girls with disabilities.  Contact the Utah Parent Center to find out when and where the next workshop will be held. 

Additional Community Resources (Compiled by Utah Parent Center)

Guardianship Information

Before your teen with Down syndrome approaches the age of 18,  you will want to consider whether or not you will seek guardianship. Guardianship is where a family member asks the court to find that their child with Down syndrome age 18 or older is unable (incompetent) to care for his or her affairs effectively. To learn more about guardianship, please visit the Utah Parent Center's website, read the article by Calvin Curtis, Attorney at Law below, or click on the Utah Court's Guardianship Home Page button below.

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