Signs of regression

It is normal for people with Down syndrome to experience many of the behaviors below. However, call the Mass General Down Syndrome Program if you notice your son or daughter experiencing many of these behaviors for at least six months.

  • Loss of adaptive skills (e.g., going to the bathroom on his/her own, eating on his/her own)
  • Increased difficulty talking
  • Depression
  • Increase or change in obsessive-compulsive behaviors
  • Increase in repetitive behaviors
  • Fatigue, headaches, irritability or difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety behaviors
  • Aggression
  • Attention seeking behaviors
  • Self injury
  • Poor concentration
  • Over active bladder
  • Change in food habits
  • Stubbornness
  • Preferring to be alone

When can regression happen?

Transition periods

People with Down syndrome usually like consistency, repetition, and order every day. Change can be harder for people with Down syndrome. During times of transition and change, you may notice signs of regression in your son or daughter (e.g., transition from elementary to middle school, or transition from school to adulthood).

Life changes

It may be more difficult to cope with life changes for people with Down syndrome. Regression may happen during the following times:

  • Death of a loved one or pet
  • Siblings moving out of the family home
  • Moving to a new home
  • Puberty
  • Changes in school or work

What should I do if I notice signs of regression in my child?

If you notice your son or daughter having many of the signs of regression for at least six months, contact our Mass General Down Syndrome Program for evaluation at 617-643-8912. Our team tries to identify reversible and treatable health causes for regressive symptoms. We can help to arrange a multidisciplinary team evaluation including psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists.

Rev: 3/2014. This webpage is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.