Social care professionals
As soon as you think that you may have an idea of what people with Down’s syndrome are like; someone will come along and contradict that idea. The range of ability, strengths and weaknesses within this group of people is very wide.
People with Down’s syndrome are individuals first and foremost. As a professional, your starting point should always be trying to understand what makes the individual tick. This process may take time and it will involve you interpreting the messages that the person is giving you by whatever means. Actions sometimes speak louder than words! Listen to the person and listen to friends and family who know them best of all. Revisiting the same question over a period of time but asking it in different ways and at different times may help you to interpret the important message that is being conveyed to you.
As we have stressed, people with Down’s syndrome are all different. However, there are some common difficulties that people with Down’s syndrome experience. This is where we can help you. We don’t claim to have all the answers but we can make your job easier by talking through the relevant issues. Our Helpline workers can help you to tease out what is happening with your service user. An understanding of some of the more common issues will help you to create an environment for your service user that significantly reduces the likelihood of problems occurring. It is easier to anticipate, plan for, and therefore hopefully avoid potential difficulties than it is to deal with a full blown crisis situation.
Common issues that are raised with our Helpline workers include: language delays, differences in emotional response and development, self-talk, lack of flexibility, tendency towards sameness or repetition, concrete thinking, difficulties understanding time, good social skills masking areas where the person needs more assistance, slower processing speed, memory strengths and weaknesses.
For more information and support, please call our Helpline on 0333 1212 300, Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm
We are encountering an increasing number of cases where a person’s need for supervision in supported living placements is judged on a person’s ability to do self-care tasks rather than on their level of maturity around certain key issues. Sometimes people are put in situations where they are being overloaded with too much choice and independence within a relatively short time period. Coupled with an inability to self-initiate tasks and difficulties describing feelings of anxiety and stress, this can very quickly lead to crisis situations. However, with the right environment and an understanding of the individual, many such situations can be avoided. Our Supported Living Series has information for professionals and families on making supported living a success for every individual.