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

Modeling, Imitation, and Mutual Participation

November 2013 | Brian Chicoine, MD - Medical Director, Adult Down Syndrome Center

three runners with arms raised

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 in a variety of settings.

We find this is true for people with Down syndrome as well.

For many of us, if the family is sitting in the TV room, watching a show, and eating ice cream, it is pretty hard for us to go jump on the treadmill or exercise bike and sweat.

We have repeatedly seen and heard success stories of people with Down syndrome modeling healthy behavior or having healthy behavior modeled for them. So many of our patients enjoy socialization, participate better in healthy behaviors in a group, and can be both wonderful “teachers” and “students.”

One might call that “inclusion.” Perhaps a better term is “mutual participation.”

It should be noted that, in the picture above, it was Billy who got Drs. Dominiak and Chicoine involved in the run and not the other way around.

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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.