Down Syndrome Adults: The Neglected Population
- Armond Aghakhanian, Adjunct Professor , Marymount College
- Steve Koletty, Adjunct Professor , Marymount College
Down syndrome (DS) is the one of the most common birth defects that cannot be prevented or reversed. This chromosome abnormality is associated with a number of deleterious phenotypes, including learning disability, heart defects, early-onset Alzheimer's disease and childhood leukemia. Consequently, with a variety of complications adult DS individuals are in constant need of service providers to assist them in many aspect of life from engaging them in real world situations to medically assisted living. My capstone research begins with examining state level funding directed toward mental illnesses in selected states. This state funding decreased overall in the recent years and particularly for private organizations supporting adult DS individuals. A study done by Waitzman in (1996) assessed the lifetime medical cost specific for a DS person. To update the findings of Waitzman’s study, I conducted informational surveys Down syndrome parents in LA County regarding the current needs and costs for their DS adult. These expense factors contrast with the shrinking support currently available and demonstrate the need for alternative support strategies.