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

Boundaries Visual

May 2024 | Abby Rowley, LCSW and Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L - Adult Down Syndrome Center

Boundaries Visual opens in new window



Boundaries are a line you do not cross without permission. There are three types: 

1. Personal Boundaries

  • Personal space and what type of touch you are comfortable with.

  • You can hug members of your family.

  • You can fist bump or high-five your friends. 


2. Social Boundaries

  • How much we talk, text, hang out, and what we talk about. 

  • You can silence your phone while at work or at bedtime.

  • You can choose to make plans to see your friends.


3. Environmental Boundaries

  • Respecting the spaces and property we interact with throughout the day.

  • You should ask permission before taking something that is not yours or entering a space that is not yours.

  • You should keep a shared space clean.

  • You should return borrowed items in the same condition you received them. 


Setting Boundaries

To help me set boundaries, I can use words like...

  • "I am not comfortable with..."

  • "I am comfortable with..."

  • "I want..."

  • "I do not want..."


Remind others of your boundaries.

  • "I told you I do not want hugs. If you keep hugging me, I will not come over to your house anymore."


Respecting Boundaries

Listen to the boundaries of others.


Respect their boundaries by apologizing and changing your behavior.

  • "I am sorry. You told me you do not like hugs. I will stop." 


Find More Resources

We offer a variety of resources for people with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers and the professionals who care for and work with them. Search our collection of articles, webinars, videos, and other educational materials.

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Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.