My daughter has Down syndrome. Can she have Tourettes syndrome as well?

Just because she has Down syndrome, this does preclude her from having other disorders or disabilities. We have students with Down syndrome and Spina-bifida, autism and Dsyslexia.

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I am concerned about my child’s weight gain. She is 13 years old.

  • Whenever there is a change, check for a medical reason first. Has she had a thyroid blood test recently? She could have an underactive thyroid and need medication.
  • Has her access to sporting activities decreased ? At this age many sporting activities become very competitive, fast paced and with complex rules. You may need to look at disability specific sports.
  • What is happening with her social life. Does she have friends to go out with? You may need to link to disability group activities. Boredom and sedentary activities eg. Sitting with Ipads and computers for extended time can become an issue.
  • Look at portion size and plate size. Everything is bigger these days. Try reducing food intake by using a smaller sized plate and cup

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My son talks to himself. School has raised it as a concern as he is talking to himself at recess and lunch times and refuses to join in activities if his peers ask. Is this a sign of mental ill health? Should I be worried?

  • Self talk is very common in students with Down syndrome. You and I self talk out loud, particularly when we are tired or the task is onerous. In most cases self talk is thinking out loud, working through problems encountered, trying to clarify issues, or revisiting last night's TV program. Sometimes students engage in fantasy talk just as others day dream. The difference is that we self talk in our heads and students with Down syndrome talk out loud.
  • Occassionally it may be an indicator of distress. If the self talk is loud and agressive sounding or converts to inappropriate acting out you will need to find out what the concerns for the student are and seek relevant advice.
  • Self talk needs to be taught as a private activity and needs to take place in a private place. School is not a private place.
  • The school needs to look at what is available for your son to do at recess and lunch times. They may need to structure the week so that at lunch on each day he goes to a set place. Eg. Library, gym, computer room, special education room with other students.

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