World Autism Awareness Day: dual diagnosis with Down syndrome

Down syndrome-autism connectionToday is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism is yet another condition that shows individuals with Down syndrome are individuals first.

I say that because just like any other individual, people with Down syndrome can also have autism. In the community this is referred to as “dual diagnosis.” I know many of our local group’s members who have this dual diagnosis, but am still learning more about having both Down syndrome and autism.

Therefore, on today, World Down Syndrome Awareness Day, I invite you to visit the Down syndrome-Autism Connection. The DS-ASD connection is a group devoted to supporting families with loved ones with the dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism. I hope you’ll visit there and learn more about those living with both Down syndrome and autism.

Please leave a comment with your own experience, if you have one, of having a loved one with Down syndrome and autism. Like I said, I’m still learning about this life experience and would welcome you to share yours.


  1. Sarah Hartway says:

    I am honored to serve on the board of the Down Syndrome – Autism Connection. Thank you, Mark, for sharing this resource with others. Nearly 18% of children with Down syndrome fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. They and their families benefit from the community of support the Connection provides.

    • Sarah–thank you for sharing that statistic. Just from my observations, I see this incidence rate among my daughters peers in our local group. Thank you for the good work DS-ASD connection is doing.

  2. Laurie Larson says:

    When I finally realized that my son with DS also had ASD my first thought was ‘what are the chances?’. I have since come to realize that it isn’t as rare a combination as I first thought. It definitely complicates things a bit having both conditions! Things aren’t quite as straight forward as dealing with either condition on its own. I also have another son with ASD and as they were growing up thought that they had a lot of overlapping issues. I now understand why that is.

    • Laurie–again, your noticing of your sons sharing things in common again demonstrates the point I hoped to make in this short post: people with Down syndrome are people, and just like everyone else, e.g. like your other son, people with Down syndrome are also prone to the conditions that can affect others. Thank you for the good work you’re doing for making available opportunities previously shut off to people with Down syndrome.

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