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What Will Life Be Like for Your Child with Down Syndrome?


  • The life expectancy for individuals with Down syndrome is 60 years of age.
  • Most individuals with Down syndrome finish high school, and many complete a transition to work program or go on to attend community college. Some individuals with Down syndrome complete a four year college and the occasional individual with Down syndrome attends graduate school.
  • Self-advocates with Down syndrome describe their life and their achievements using power point or speak from notes.
  • Work placements for individuals with Down syndrome are less likely to include sheltered workshops and more likely to be in contact with the community.
  • Many adults with Down syndrome live independently, either in group homes, with roommates or with their spouse.
  • Experts in education for individuals with Down syndrome stress inclusion with typical peers beginning in preschool, and continuing through elementary school, middle school and high school. The performance of both typical children and children with Down syndrome improves with inclusion.
  • Children and youth with Down syndrome should be offered the opportunity to participate in sports, dance, theater, music and art. Participation will help these individuals to develop friendships and self-confidence.
  • As parents, you will need to be strong advocates for your child with Down syndrome to ensure that he/she will be able to reach his/her potential.
  • As parents, you will love your son or daughter with Down syndrome and you will be proud of them. You will feel that your outlook on life will be more positive because of them. You will feel that your typical children have a good relationship with their sibling with Down syndrome.
  • Your typical children will love their sibling with Down syndrome and will be proud of them. They will think that they are better people because of their sibling with Down syndrome. They will be committed to their sibling with Down syndrome and remain a part of their life through adulthood.
  • Your child with Down syndrome will be happy with his/her life, like who they are, and like the way they look. They will love their parents and their siblings. They will make friends easily. They will have similar hopes and dreams to those of your typical children.
  • Your child with Down syndrome will look more like their parents and siblings than like other children with Down syndrome.
  • Each individual with Down syndrome is unique and has particular strengths and talents.

To see what life is like for individuals with Down syndrome, please check out the following links to websites:

Contact your local organization of parents of children with Down syndrome to arrange to speak with some parents.

Articles to read if you would like to learn more:

  • KB Sheets, RG Best, CK Brasington and MC Will. ¬†Balanced information about Down syndrome: What is essential? American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A. 155:1246-1257, 2011.
  • KB Sheets, BG Crissman, CD Feist, SL Sell, LR Johnson, KC Donahue, D Masser-Frye, GS Brookshire, AM Carre, D LaGrave, and CK Brassington. Practice guidelines for communicating a prenatal or postnatal diagnosis of Down syndrome: Recommendations of the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Journal of Genetic Counseling. 20:432-441, 2011.
    BG Skotko, SP Levine, and R Goldstein. Having a brother or sister with Down syndrome: Perspectives from siblings. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A. 155:2348-2359, 2011.
  • BG Skotko, SP Levine, and R Goldstein. Having a son or daughter with Down syndrome: Perspectives from mothers and fathers. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A. 155:2335-2347, 2011.
  • BG Skotko, SP Levine and R Goldstein. Self-perceptions from people with Down syndrome. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A. 155:2360-2369, 2011.
  • M. Van Riper and H Choi. Family-provider interactions surrounding the diagnosis of Down syndrome. Genetics in Medicine. 13:714-716, 2011.