For Families and Carers : Dual Diagnosis ASC/DS


In the past many professionals considered a dual diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and Down’s syndrome (DS) to be uncommon if not impossible.  One of the reasons for this may have been the persistent stereotype of people with DS as friendly, affectionate with outgoing personalities.

We now know that the two conditions can and do co-exist. There is a growing body of evidence (DiGuiseppi et al., 2010; Lowenthal et al., 2007; Moss et al., 2013; Warner et al., 2014) that suggests that a significant minority of people with Down’s syndrome may have dual diagnosis and that this group of people may not fit with traditional ideas about some of the common characteristics of people with just ASC or just DS.  People with ASC/DS may have a specific profile which is perhaps why parents sometimes find it difficult to get a diagnosis for their child. Parents have told us that professionals have sometimes dismissed their worries about dual diagnosis on the grounds that their child does not have a certain trait typically found in people with just ASC.

Case studies and Journal articles

We are always looking for case studies about people’s lives to use in our work. Parents tell us they want to hear more positive life stories about teenagers and adults with dual diagnosis ASC/DS and/or complex needs. If any of you would like to contribute case studies or write an article for the Journal, please get in touch using email:

Research Opportunity

Click here if you are interested in being involved in a new research study exploring what it is like to be a parent or carer of a child who receives the secondary diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Why do I need another label for my child?
What to do If you think that your child may have dual diagnosis ASC/DS
My child has got a diagnosis, what next?
DSA ASC/DS Meetings
Useful Links and Resources
ASC/DS Latest News
Sharing experiences and stories

What's New