Family Life / Relationships

Families experience great anxiety in relation to the amount of therapies/interventions recommended for children with Down syndrome; while specific teaching and therapies will help, there will be no greater influence on the progress of a child with Down syndrome than to be absorbed into the everyday life of the family and community .

While people with Down syndrome share certain physical and learning characteristics; they will be more like their families than anyone else. Often when the diagnosis of Down syndrome is given; it is too difficult for parents to envisage a bright future ahead and a day such as the one depicted in the image; where a father is proud of his son and they share so many interests and personality traits.

Sibling Relationships:
95% of Irish people with Down syndrome have at least one sibling. There exists an assumption that having a child with Down syndrome in a family automatically produces ill effects. There is no evidence to support this view. In fact; the literature describes these sibling relationships as both rewarding and strengthening . Furthermore, siblings of people with Down syndrome are often very tolerant people, with remarkable understanding and maturity in their dealings with others. Often; society views these relationships as that of a carer and a patient; rather than a relationship based on love, friendship and equal respect.

See Egan (2000)
See Cunningham (1996)
Reference: Cliff Cunningham, 1997; 2006 & Mulroy et al., 2008