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Dual-Diagnosis and Complex Needs

By any definition Down syndrome is a complex condition. Individually, children with this condition can differ markedly from one another in their medical, developmental and behavioral attributes. We recognize that some children and families have especially complex needs because of the particular constellation of medical-developmental-behavioral challenges they face. Parenting requires significantly greater physical and emotional energy, problem-solving and planning skills, more time for medical and therapy appointments, requests for very specific types of information, treatment approaches and recommendations. The demand this places on parents and caregivers is considerable as they try to balance the needs of self-family-school-work, etc. Financial resources, marital-family relations, personal mental and physical well-being will be tested.

Behavioral and mental health concerns exist in up to 25-35% of children, adolescents and young adults with Down syndrome. Families experiencing these concerns understand very quickly how complex Down syndrome is.  Many in our society, including those on whom your child must depend, may not appreciate or understand what it means when behavior and mental health become prominent concerns for your family.Those living with a family member with Down syndrome, intellectual disability and a behavioral or mental health disorder “dual-diagnosis” know firsthand how difficult it can be to find informed professional opinion to address their specific questions, concerns, or provide strategies and ideas for management and daily living.
More than developmental delay or intellectual disability, these concerns are the NUMBER ONE reported cause of educational, vocational or social challenge and emotional distress in affected individuals.