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Research Opportunities

How can my child and I become involved in furthering our understanding of Down syndrome?

One of the ways experts learn more about Down syndrome is through research of individuals with the condition. These research opportunities are voluntary for families, and their purpose is to provide information that helps professionals set goals, objectives and policy, as well impact the future of individuals with Down syndrome. Below are various ways you and your child with Down syndrome can get involved in a research project or study.

DS-Connect: Down Syndrome Registry

What is DS-Connect™: The Down Syndrome Registry?

The National Institutes of Health-supported Down Syndrome Registry, DS-Connect™, will allow people with Down syndrome and their family members, researchers, and parent and support groups to share information and health history in a safe, confidential, online database. Users will be able to create and edit their customizable online profiles, share their profiles with other DS-Connect™ users, and set reminders for medical care and other appointments and events. DS-Connect™ will also provide access to general information about Down syndrome, as well as de-identified statistical data based on user responses to survey questions.

Who can access DS-Connect™?

Those with Down syndrome and their families will need to provide their consent for the Registry before they can create their password-protected profiles. If a user gives permission to be contacted, then clinicians and researchers who are authorized will contact these individuals to see if they are interested in participating in research studies. The Registry will comply with all regulations and laws governing privacy, personally identifiable information, and health data.

Why do we need DS-Connect™?

Creating a national registry was a primary recommendation of the 2007 NIH Down Syndrome Research Plan, which helped set goals and objectives for the Down syndrome research field. The development of DS-Connect™ was also supported by the Down Syndrome Consortium, a public-private partnership established in 2011 to further the exchange of information on Down syndrome research and to implement and update the Research Plan.

Family Management of Sleep Problems in Children with Down Syndrome

If you have a child with Down syndrome (6 months to 6 years of age), you are invited to participate in a study about family management of sleep problems in children with Down syndrome being conducted by Dr. Marcia Van Riper and her colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Participation in the study involves completing a survey (online or hard copy) – your child with Down syndrome does not need to have sleep problems.

Dr. Van Riper and her colleagues are interested in learning about sleep habits in children with Down syndrome and how sleep problems are managed by families. They are also interested in understanding the relationship between sleep habits and quality of life in families of children with Down syndrome.  In addition, they are interested in identifying factors that influence the ability of families of children with Down syndrome to manage sleep problems.

Please email Dr. Van Riper if you would like to learn more about the study – vanriper@email.unc.edu. Or, follow direct links to the surveys below (there are three versions based on the age of your child with Down syndrome).

Survey for parents of children with Down syndrome 6 months to 1 year of age

Survey for parents of children with Down syndrome over 1 year to 2 years

Survey for parents of children with Down syndrome over 2 years to 6 years 

LuMind IDSC's Clinical Trials Network

The goal for the Down Syndrome Clinical Trials Network (DS-CTN) is to carry out clinical trials more rapidly with the readiness of clinical sites and the availability of ready-to-enroll participants with Down syndrome. This is important, because several promising interventions to improve health and independence for individuals with Down syndrome are ready to enter clinical trials in the next 5 years that will require hundreds of participants in each.