Abstract Gradient

Stepping out in the world: the new adulthood for Gen Zs with Down syndrome

Project Summary

Down syndrome was first described in 1866 and has one of the longest histories of documentation of any disability. Once, opportunities to attend local schools, gain employment and live independently were rarely possible, unlike today. Now there is a new generation of individuals with Down syndrome who may experience life in new ways. The group of individuals born 1995-2012 are referred to as Gen Z.


This research project, co-designed with young adults with Down Syndrome, will examine adulthood for Gen Zs with Down syndrome through the lens of quality of life. Using a qualitative methodology, we will train research assistants with Down syndrome to conduct interviews and focus groups, which will generate data from across five sites that will be thematically analysed.


This will lead to a more comprehensive, evidence-based perspective with implications for education, health and law. The research will inform national and international policy and practice, where assumptions of quality of life affect decisions in contexts such as schooling, health care, prenatal testing, and employment. 

In the media

University of Queensland hires assistants living with Down syndrome for Gen Z study

In the media

'We're awesome legends': Global focus on UQ's Down Syndrome research

Project Team


  • Associate Professor Rhonda Faragher (Lead investigator)

  • Dr Jan Lloyd (Project manager)

  • Ms Ruth Faragher (Self-advocate with Down syndrome)

  • Mr Bobby Pate (Self-advocate with Down syndrome)

  • Rebecca Flanagan, Alana Pettigrew, Mia Johnston and Michael Cox

All from the University of Queensland