Teens With Down Syndrome

Brad is a sixteen year-old young man who enjoys a busy yet fulfilling life. His favorite subjects in school are P.E. and math, and he especially enjoys lunchtime. Brad has many friends and his peers look up to him for all of his accomplishments and hard work. Brad participates in many extra-curricular activities as well. He is highly involved in the Special Olympics program, and is training to run a 5k this summer. Brad is also working hard at the city park on Saturday mornings where he and his dad are repainting picnic tables in order for Brad to receive his Eagle Scout Award. Brad is one of the many teenagers leading a rewarding life even though he has Down syndrome. Although teens with Down syndrome have more challenges and obstacles to face than teens without Down syndrome, these teens can still enjoy a life filled with happiness and satisfaction.

Typical School Setting for Teens with Down Syndrome

Teens with Down syndrome usually attend a normal high school. These teens spend much of the day in specialized programs and classes with Special Education teachers and other learning professionals. Teens with Down syndrome are tested and assessed at the beginning of each year, and because of their differing needs and requirements, they are given an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) that is designed specifically for them. Teens with Down syndrome also participate in regular classes and activities as well. Mainstreaming teens with Down syndrome in the regular classroom setting is vital so that the teen is able to socialize and make friends with their peers. It also gives them a sense of normalcy and helps them not to feel so different from their peers.

Challenges for Teens with Down Syndrome

The teenage years are a challenging time for most adolescents. Between school work and hormone changes, teenagers have a lot to deal with, and sometimes must take life one day at a time. Teens with Down syndrome especially need support, guidance, and care as they go through their teenage years. Some of the extra challenges that teens with Down syndrome may face are:

* Athletics: Individuals with Down syndrome may want to participate in high school sports, but often their physical limitations may prevent them from doing so. It is important that these teens are involved with other programs tailored just for them, such as Special Olympics.

* Employment: High school is a time for many to get an after-school job. Teens with Down syndrome may still work and earn money, but it must be a job that doesn’t put too much strain or pressure on them. Also, employers and fellow employees must be able to adapt and make necessary changes to accommodate these special-needs teens.

With proper and constant support from parents, caregivers, and teachers, teens with Down syndrome can live a gratifying life and be active members of society.