Kansas State University 3 August 2010
The tumultuous feelings parents have when they first learn their child will be born with Down syndrome give way to joy and resilience, according to preliminary data from a study by researchers at Kansas State University and Texas Tech University. Briana Nelson Goff and Nicole Springer, both mothers of a child with Down syndrome, can attest to the findings. Goff is associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Human Ecology and professor of family studies and human services at K-State, and Springer is director of the Texas Tech University Family Therapy Clinic. The two researchers, who met while completing their doctoral work at Texas Tech, reconnected after learning of their personal connection as parents. Their study is called “My Kid Has More Chromosomes Than Yours! The Journey to Resilience and Hope in Parenting a Child with Down Syndrome.” “The goal of our study is to help parents and professionals understand that having a child with Down syndrome isn’t the end of the world; it can be a very positive experience,” Goff said.
The researchers collected data through an online survey for parents of children with Down syndrome. Together with their student teams, they are analyzing the more than 500 responses they’ve received since the survey went live October 2009. The researchers found that the parents’ experiences in first learning their child had Down syndrome had similarities, regardless of whether the diagnosis was before or after the birth.