She may have Downs, but she's still a teenager. She's got all the same hormones running through her body that any other teenage girl would. It's a time of asserting independence, and you have to somehow faciltiate that. It will depend a lot on her functioning level. I've worked with kids with Downs who are quite high functioning and will go on to live semi-independantly, hold a paying job, etc, and I've worked with some who will always need a live in caregiver, work in a sheltered workshop, etc. In each case you do what you can to give them as much independance as you can and they are capable of. Good luck.
Oh and don't forget to teach her about sex, sexuality, her body, and what her rights are, healthy relationships, and so on. People with special needs have a much higher rate of being sexually assulted/abused - a lot of times simply because they don't know what's happening or that they can say no.
at 7:48 PM on Jun. 30, 2010