Dual Diagnosis – Down Syndrome & Autism

Since it is Autism Acceptance Month, we wanted to take a moment to highlight the dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism. While While a child with Down syndrome is diagnosed prenatally or very shortly after birth, a diagnosis of autism usually occurs several years later.  Previously, it was not widely understood that a person with Down syndrome could be autistic, but with more research and awareness around both conditions, it has become more recognized that this can be the case.  In fact, the incidence of autism among individuals with Down syndrome (DS) is more prevalent than in the general population, with at least 1 in 7 people with DS having autism as compared to 1 in 36 among those who do not have DS.  A dual-diagnosis increases the number of therapies and interventions parents may need to consider for their child.  Below we have linked a few resources which parents may find helpful as they are considering whether their child with Down syndrome may have a dual-diagnosis of DS and autism.

National resources:

Navigating a Dual Diagnosis of Down Syndrome and Autism | Global Down Syndrome Foundation

AS-DSASD | National Down Syndrome Congress (ndsccenter.org)

Dual Diagnosis of Down Syndrome and Autism | National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)

Programs & Services : What We Do : Down Syndrome – Autism Connection (DS-ASD) (ds-asd-connection.org)

Local resources: 

Autism Society of Greater New Orleans – The connection is you.™ (asgno.org)

Sensory Activation Vehicle – Beignet Fest

Many museums have sensory-friendly days.  Contact to ask Louisiana Children’s Museum, WWII museum, and Louisiana State Museums for details.

And of course, individuals with a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism are always welcome to the free eduational programs at GiGi’s Playhouse New Orleans!  Please don’t hesitate to reach out about how we might try to better serve your family’s needs: neworleans@gigisplayhouse.org.

Also, since GiGi’s Playhouse is a volunteer-run organization, if you or someone you know would like to volunteer to bring dual-diagnosis-specific resources to our Playhouse or serve as a volunteer to provide extra support to someone with DS and autism in our group programs, please reach out to volunteerneworleans@gigisplayhouse.org.


The Dual Diagnosis of Autism and Down Syndrome – YouTube

Louisiana Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities Project | LSUHSC Human Development Center

Louisiana Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities Project (lasard.org)

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