Research debunks Down syndrome myths

There are many ways to get to know someone. Following their life from infancy to middle-age takes dedication and love.

For 40-years UQ researchers have been working with people born with Down syndrome and their families to better understand their lives and needs.

The study is the centrepiece of the UQ School of Education Down Syndrome Research Program, which has received a World Down Syndrome Day award from Down Syndrome International.

The study of 200 families began with babies and their families in 1978 and is providing unique and important insights.

"We’ve collected data on cognitive development, motor development, temperament and family functioning, including the impact on parents and siblings on having a child with Down syndrome in the family," Former Program Director Dr Anne Jobling said.

"The study has debunked many myths about children with Down syndrome such as that they couldn't read or write and that learning plateaued in the teenage years.

"But our research proved that wrong. These young adults require continuing education in literacy and numeracy skills after they leave school to help them integrate better into their communities," Dr Jobling said.

The program has been generously supported by the Michael Cameron Fund, established in 1985 by the family of Michael Cameron, who passed away at age seven, after being recruited at birth for the program.

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