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For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

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Using First/Then Boards

Author: Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L - Occupational Therapist, Adult Down Syndrome Center

We like to use visual supports to set or manage expectations. One type of visual support that can be helpful is a first/then board. When using a visual support, there can be words, pictures, or a comb

Individualized Visual Schedules

Author: Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L - Occupational Therapist, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Visuals tend to be most effective when they are individualized. What works for one person may be different than what works for another person. Schedules are one example of a type of visual that may va

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a health issue in the intestines (bowels). It is not clear how common it is in people with Down syndrome (DS).  However, we suspect that IBS is more common i

Tips for Successful Blood Draws

Author: Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L - Occupational therapist, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Do you or does a family member or friend with Down syndrome dread getting blood drawn? Here are some tips to help with blood draws:  Make sure to be hydrated ! This will help the phl

Swallowing Problems (Dysphagia)

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Swallowing problems (dysphagia) are common in people with Down syndrome (DS). In our large cohort study that reviewed health data from people cared for within Advocate Health, swallowing problems were

Supporting People with Down Syndrome in Living a Healthy Lifestyle Webinar Recording (5/12/2021)

Author: Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L and Laura Chicoine, BA - Adult Down Syndrome Center

The video below is a recording of a webinar presented by Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L and Laura Chicoine, BA on May 12, 2021. Dr. Frank is the occupational therapist at the Adult Down Syndrome Center and L

Use of Probiotics by People with Down Syndrome

Author: Adult Down Syndrome Center - Resource

What are probiotics? Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain live microorganisms (e.g., bacteria). Foods with labels that say "live and active cultures" contain probiotics.

Liver Fibrosis

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Fibrosis of the liver can be thought of as a "scar" in the liver that results from chronic liver injury. It is similar to scarring that may form on the skin or in the lung or other o

Treating Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease with Surgery

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

We were asked about surgical options for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach contents, including acid, go "backwards" from the stomach up into t

My Health Passport

Author: Florida Center for Inclusive Communities

This health passport can be filled out by individuals with Down syndrome and their families to share information with health care professionals about how they can best support the individual.

Colon Cancer Screening for People with Down Syndrome

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Is colon cancer screening recommended for people with Down syndrome? Please note that this handout discusses screening colonoscopies (i.e. colonoscopies performed to identify pre-symptomatic or unreco

Lactose Intolerance

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

People with Down syndrome can experience a variety of gastrointestinal issues. One of them is intolerance to foods containing lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in dairy products like milk and ice crea

Celiac Disease

Author: Robert Campbell, DO - Family Medicine Resident, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

What is celiac disease? Celiac disease is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the small intestine that occurs when the intestine is exposed to gluten (see more on gluten below). Specificall

Constipation in Down Syndrome

Author: Samantha Ghanayem-Bouikidis, MD - Family Medicine Resident, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

Constipation is a common problem in people with Down syndrome as well as the general population. Studies show that chronic constipation affects between 2 and 27% of the general population. It is thoug

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Author: Allison Schnitzler, MD - Family Medicine Resident, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux and heartburn, is common among people both with and without Down syndrome. One study showed that as many as 44% (almost one half!) of

Visual Supports

Author: Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L - Occupational Therapist, Adult Down Syndrome Center

When I was trying to figure out how I was going to share information about visual supports, I came across someone who used the following poem (author unknown) to describe what it feels like when visua

Recurrent Pneumonia

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Definition of Pneumonia  (by the Mayo Clinic ) Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus, causing cough with phlegm or

Modeling, Imitation, and Mutual Participation

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Observing someone demonstrate appropriate behavior, watching a parent or friend model healthy activity, or having a mentor to observe and imitate are all ways we learn a variety of healthy behaviors i

Promoting and Assessing Health

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

7 Keys to Promoting Health and Assessing Change in Health Assess contributing medical conditions Assess contributing psychological conditions Optimize communication Assess and optimize sensory issues

Food Choices in Group Settings, Workshops, and at Community Events

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

One of the areas our patients find challenging to making healthy choices is in the availability of food options in group settings, workshops, and community events. The limited choices in vending machi

Celiac Disease and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

Can celiac disease cause obsessive compulsive disorder? This question was recently asked by a family member of a person with Down syndrome.  I have reviewed several articles and other informa

Celiac Testing in Adolescents and Adults with Down Syndrome

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

The starting place for making the diagnosis of celiac disease is the history and physical exam. The symptoms of celiac disease can vary widely (see resource on the description of celiac disease). The

Celiac Treatment

Author: Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

How is celiac disease treated? The treatment for celiac disease is diet. It requires strict adherence to eliminating gluten in the diet. How do I get started? The recommended first step is a consultat

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