For Families and Carers : Puberty

Young woman with Down's syndrome with tree in background

Puberty and growing up

It’s happened – your child’s a teenager! Just like all young people, teenagers with Down’s syndrome will experience the physical, hormonal and emotional changes that come with growing up. Young people with Down’s syndrome will go through puberty at a similar age to other children. It’s very important to help your child understand these changes, so make time to help them understand what is happening with their body and their feelings. Call our helpline for information about resources to help you talk to your child about puberty on 0333 1212 300.

As well as changes in emotions and their body, most young people with Down’s syndrome will also begin to become interested in love and relationships. This may feel a bit daunting, but it is a normal and a natural part of growing up. Many young people with Down’s syndrome want to start a relationship, but they may need some extra support. They will need to learn what relationships mean and how they can have a happy, safe relationship. You can find more information in our Sexual Health booklet.

Your son or daughter may also begin to have more of a desire for independence and want to ‘push the boundaries’. This is normal – but it doesn’t mean you need to put up with bad behaviour. Try to give them more independence, allowing them to make their own choices as much as you can, but let them know what the rules are and the consequences of breaking them. You can find out more on our Making Choices page.

Further resources

Teaching Children with Down Syndrome About Their Bodies, Boundaries and Sexuality: A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Terri Couwenhoven.

What's New

  • More than 500 downloads for DSActive Health Swap app

    A new app designed to help people with Down’s syndrome make healthier eating and exercise choices, has been downloaded more than 500 times in its first three weeks. Created by our <a href="http…

  • New NICE guidance on growing older

    Earlier this year, the DSA was pleased to be involved in shaping new guidance around growing older with a learning disability. We responded to a National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NIC…

  • We know the secret to a happy marriage

    Tommy and Maryanne Pilling say they know the secret to a happy marriage – “I love my Tommy, he is my husband. We do lots of things together and he is my best friend”. The couple have jus…