FRIDAY, Jan. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Most persons with Down syndrome (DS) maintain their personal hygiene by age 13 years and work independently by 20 years, according to a study published online Dec. 24 in the American Journal of Medical Genetics.

Gert de Graaf, from the Dutch Down Syndrome Foundation in Meppel, the Netherlands, and colleagues asked parents from the United States and the Netherlands to assess 11 functional skills of their sons and daughters with DS. The authors analyzed responses from 2,658 parents with children with DS of all ages.

The researchers found that most people with DS in the United States could walk by 25 months of age and could speak reasonably well, maintain their personal hygiene, and work independently by 12, 13, and 20 years, respectively. By 31 years, 49 and 46 percent were reading and writing reasonably well, respectively. About 30 and 34 percent could travel independently and were living independently, respectively, by 31 years of age. For most measures, the results from parents in the Netherlands were similar.

“These developmental milestones can also serve as helpful guideposts for current parents, therapists, and clinicians who would like to assess the relative functional skills of a person with DS,” the authors write. “Additional supports, resources, and therapies might be marshaled, for example, when a person with DS is falling behind his or her counterparts with DS reported here.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and being an expert witness for legal cases where DS is discussed.

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