Functioning and post-school transition outcomes for young people with Down syndrome

Document Type

Journal Article




Graduate Research School


Graduate Research School




This article was originally published as: Foley, K. R., Jacoby, P., Girdler, S. J., Bourke, J., Pikora, T., Lennox, N., Einfield, S., Llewellyn, G., Parmenter, T., & Leonard, H. (2013). Functioning and post-school transition outcomes for young people with Down syndrome. Child: Care, Health and Development, 39(6), 789-800. Original article available here


Aim: To investigate the relationship between functioning and post-school day occupation for young adults with Down syndrome. Methods: Families of young people with Down syndrome (n = 269) aged 15-30 years in 2009 were recruited from the population-based Down syndrome 'Needs Opinion Wishes' database in Western Australia. Questionnaires were mailed to participating families and involved two parts, young person characteristics and family functioning; 203 were returned (75%). Of those families who returned questionnaires, 164 (80.8%) of their young adults had left school. Participation in post-school day occupations was the main outcome and included; open employment, training, sheltered employment or alternatives to employment (ATE). Results: Young adults were reported as participating in open employment (n = 42), training (n = 17), sheltered employment (n = 64) or ATE (n = 41) post-school. Those who reported better functioning in self-care, community and communication skills were more likely to be in open employment and/or attending Technical and Further Education compared with those attending sheltered employment and/or ATE after adjusting for age, gender and rural/metropolitan regions. Current health as measured by visits to a general practitioner (GP) and hospitalizations revealed a weak relationship with post-school day occupations, with increasing likelihood of participating in open employment or training with increasing hospitalizations and GP visits. Conclusions: Our analysis shows that functioning in activities of daily living was related to post-school day occupation. Current health status and behaviour were found to have a weak relationship with post-school day occupation adjusting for functioning in the final model.