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Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome

A Guide to Emotional and Behavioral Strengths and Challenges
Dennis McGuire, Ph.D. & Brian Chicoine, M.D.


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isbn# 978-1-890627-65-2
7" x 10"
432 pages
Medications Addendum

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"My husband and I have two adult daughters and one adult son age 28 that has Down Syndrome. I have bought the Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome and also bought the book Gifts. I am so impressed with the books that Woodbine has available for parents, teachers etc. on disabilities. I pass on the information on the catalogs from Woodbine and the books I have read. Our son is now in Mental Health programs, so I pass it on to them and also our local ISD. Our youngest daughter is a Special Ed. teacher through the local ISD. I was so excited when I read the Mental Wellness book. Even though Erik is 28 now, it answered so many questions. Especially the self talk that nobody was able to explain. I would have LOVED these wonderful books when Erik was little. I only found a few way back then and they were so depressing, I felt like I was in a dark, deep hole. I am happy to say that Erik is doing great. He is employed, involved in Special Olympics, attends the local workshop, church greeter, does horse therapy, rides local dial-a-ride by himself etc. He is a great inspiration to our small community. We also pass along the information on the books to other parents."
-Cindy Boerema, Ludington, Michigan

"Biological differences and environmental stresses resulting from differing abilities increase the susceptibility of older individuals with Down syndrome to mental health problems. However this comprehensive book states that mental health problems are not inevitable. Using a holistic approach, typical aging through the life-span and the connection between physical well being and mental health are described.

Behavioral characteristics seen in Down syndrome, such as the sharp visual memory and the comparatively-better receptive language skills, are described together with the limitations experienced, as in expressive language. The authors explain how interpretation of typical reactionary behaviors may result in a false diagnosis of mental health issues. Methods to avoid these false diagnoses by promoting optimal skills in communication and work are also described. The importance of accurate information gathered from a variety of sources to understand changes in behavior is stressed. Case-studies demonstrate that issues such as medical problems or abuse may precipitate apparent deviant behavior which can be resolved only when the underlying cause is addressed. Mental health issues in the general population, its manifestation in those with Down syndrome, together with management techniques geared specifically to this population are also included.

The authors have provided excellent information. Occupational therapy is mentioned in the context of sensory issues. However our expertise in facilitating occupational engagement needs to be clarified. Service providers and caregivers of adults will find this excellent resource helpful in ensuring long-term mental wellness and to address immediate behavioral issues. Those working with younger children will appreciate the recommended healthy habits as a preventative measure. The information could additionally he useful in the management of developmental disabilities other than Down syndrome."
-Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2008

"*Adults with Down syndrome, their families, and all who work with them will benefit immeasurably from this guide, which is unique in its range and insight. Chicoine, medical director of the Adult Down Syndrome Center of Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL, and McGuire, director of Psychosocial Services at that same institution, have melded their nearly 30 years experience working with adults with Down syndrome into an exhaustive and detailed volume composed of three sections. Part 1 describes mental health assessments and the physical/mental health connection; Part 2 addresses typical issues facing this population, including what is 'normal' and 'usual' in behavior vs. what should cause concern, self-talk, strengths and weaknesses in memory, imaginary friends, and flexibility. Part 3 tackles mental illness and topics such as anxiety, challenging behavior, and Alzheimer's disease in individuals with Down syndrome. The authors' excellent writing and abundant use of case studies turn what could have been a dry text into a guide that will be invaluable to anyone with a connection to Down syndrome. Highly recommended for all collections."
-Library Journal (*starred review), October 1, 2006

"It can be difficult to recognize underlying medical, physical and mental health conditions in individuals who have a primary diagnosis. A misdiagnosis of failure to recognize symptoms of a new medical concern is a problem for anyone. It is a bigger concern for individuals who have limited communication skills or who have difficulty coping with stress in healthy ways.

Adults with Down syndrome achieve healthy mental health the same ways as other adults. They want to be accepted, have choices, enjoy a lifestyle that includes good nutrition and regular exercise, be part of and contribute to their community, and have the opportunity to do interesting and satisfying work.

When these things are absent, it can intensify behaviors, each as a tendency to be methodical, and lead to a misdiagnosis of a mental illness when the person is really coping with stress in an unhealthy way.

If you need help understanding the strengths, challenges, and behaviors of an adult with Down syndrome, this easy-to-read and well organized book provides wonderful insight. Readers will learn the difference between behaviors and mental illness. There are excellent tips for what to watch for, when to be concerned, when to get help, and how to choose a mental health provider."
-Newsline, Spring 2008, Federation for Children with Special Needs

"A thoroughgoing and compassionate guide to the mental health of adolescents and adults with Down syndrome (DS).

Not all people with DS have mental health problems. Indeed, common characteristics of the syndrome are often harmless quirks or useful coping strategies. Clearly, though, there are also physical and psychological problems that can limit the mental health of DS individuals. The authors assess these problems, examine their impacts and suggest courses of action to address mood, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders; challenging and injurious behavior; tics and repetitive movements; and dealing with factors that could precipitate mental illness. Case examples are cited in each instance. This may be the focus of the book, but other aspects are equally important: the relationship between social health and mental health, and ensuring someone with DS maintains good self-esteem.

An invaluable tool for those who interact daily with adults with Down syndrome."
-Kirkus Reports

"What outsiders rarely understand, and what often comes as a surprise to parents, is that a lot of the issues we deal with when caring for a person with Down syndrome aren't intellectual or developmental, they're behavioral; not 'Why Johnny can't read,' but 'Why Johnny won't eat anything that isn't brown.' The great thing about this book is that it calms your concerns in some of these areas, and is of great help in recognizing, understanding and dealing with all of the others. I think my 24-year-old son is generally well adjusted, but it's no exaggeration to say that I found something new, something of interest, some insight, on practically every page of Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome--and there are a lot of pages."
-Greg Palmer, author of Adventures in the Mainstream: Coming of Age with Down Syndrome

"Informed by 15 years of experience, and drawing on the stories of more than 3000 adolescents and adults with Down syndrome, Drs. McGuire and Chicoine have developed a practical and optimistic guide to approaching the life issues of their patients. This is a wise and compassionate book, brimming with clinical vignettes, which succinctly aids families, service providers, and, certainly all health providers in developing creative solutions for puzzling dilemmas. We are in their debt."
-William I. Cohen, M.D.
Director, Down Syndrome Center of Western PA Children's Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA

"Parents who are anxious about mental health issues relating to their adolescent or adult son or daughter will view this book as a godsend. For them, it will be 'must reading,' just like Babies with Down Syndrome is for new parents. Self-advocates, family members and physicians will benefit from this well-written, easy-to-understand guide."
-David Tolleson
Executive Director, National Down Syndrome Congress

"Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome is a resource for parents who want to promote mental health and resolve psychosocial problems in people with Down syndrome.

This easy to-read guide clarifies the common behavioral characteristics of the condition, how some can be mistaken for mental illness, and the most common health problems that occur. The authors, in addition to describing these traits and mental health issues, explain how parents, caregivers and adults with Down syndrome can work together to foster mental wellness."
-Today's Kids in Motion

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