Many myths about Down syndrome have been debunked
Many myths about Down syndrome have been debunked
22 March 2017

The four decades of scientific contribution of a University of Queensland program towards Down syndrome have been internationally recognised.

The Down Syndrome Research Program (DSRP) at the UQ School of Education has received a World Down Syndrome Day award from Down Syndrome International.

Former program director Dr Anne Jobling said the centrepiece of the DSRP’s contribution was a longitudinal study that began with babies and their families in 1978.

“In 2018, the longitudinal study will celebrate 40 years of continuous research with these individuals and their families,” Dr Jobling said.

“The study provides unique and important insights into the health and development of those with Down syndrome as well as information about family functioning.

"It has collected data about cognitive development, motor development, temperament and family functioning, including the impact on parents and siblings.

Dr Jobling said the longitudinal study had debunked many myths about children with Down syndrome.

“For example, people once thought learning plateaued in the teenage years but our research proved it didn’t,” she said.

"Young adults with Down syndrome require continuing education after they leave school to support their inclusion in their communities, and particularly with access to paid work.”

Leading researchers in the program have been Dr Pat Gunn and Dr Jobling, both retired from the University, but holding adjunct positions within the School of Education, Professor Monica Cuskelly (now at UTAS), and Associate Professor Karen Moni.

They have led a team of researchers, research assistants and participants who have produced an astonishing body of research.

Work of the DSRP has been supported by the Michael Cameron Fund, administrated by UQ.

The fund was established in 1985 by the family of Michael Cameron, who passed away at age seven, after being recruited at birth for the program.

Donations to the Michael Cameron Fund are tax deductible and should be sent to UQ Advancement.

Media: Melinda Kopanakis,,+61 7 3365 2632.