Development and description of the Physical Therapy-based Exercise Program now published!

We are so grateful for our collaboration with our expert DPT Dr. Sarah Mann of Mann Method PT in Colorado, as she has the only PT Practice in the country exclusively serving individuals with Down syndrome. Her knowledge and expertise in working with adults with Down syndrome has led to the development of an exercise program that is specifically targeting the areas that are important for adults with Down syndrome, such as hip strengthening, cardiovascular endurance, visual-vestibular exercises and foundational strength exercises, based on the ICF model and a full physical therapy systems review. Read the full description and guidelines for implementation now in our published paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, with open access for everyone!

Publication on Effects of Online Exercise Program on Balance and Strength in Adults with Down Syndrome

The first publication on the effects of our online, PT-based exercise program on balance and strength in adults with Down syndrome is out! The collaboration with our expert partner Dr. Sarah Mann from Mann Method PT and with our UNLV PT Graduates Kristina Guerrero, Alexandria Umagat, Mark Barton and Andrew Martinez has led to this informative paper in the Top Tier Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities. Our 12-week exercise intervention, delivered online as a telehealth program, significantly improved balance and strength in 20 adults with Down syndrome: check it out here!

Special Issue dedicated to physical activity and exercise

Together with my colleague Dr. Alyt Oppewal of the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, we were honored to be the Guest Editors of the Second Special Issue of the Journal on Intellectual Disability Research on “Physical Activity, Exercise and Fitness: The New Medicine“. Check out the full issue for the latest amazing research on this topic!

First Las Vegas Down Syndrome Conference was a success!

Together with organizing community partner Down Syndrome Connections Las Vegas, we co-hosted the first Annual Las Vegas Down Syndrome Conference at the Stan Fulton Building on the UNLV Maryland Campus. It was a great day, everybody enjoyed the informative sessions, the interactive self-advocate workshops, the open-hearted UNLV student volunteers, and just the many great interactions between the attendees. On to next year!

NIH Funding Awarded for Research study on Cardiovascular Health, Survival and Mortality in individuals with Down syndrome

We will use an existing dataset to investigate the modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for early mortality in this population, to better understand the changing patterns of (cardiovascular) mortality in adults with Down syndrome. This project will further solidify collaborations with the research group at Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands as the owners of the dataset, and with the Linda Crnic Research Institute for Down Syndrome in Colorado as host of the INCLUDE Data Coordination Center. 

Recruiting for UNLV Exercise and Down Syndrome Research Study

We have started recruiting for our Exercise and Down Syndrome Research Study. In our study last year, the online exercise program with Dr. Sarah Mann of Mann Method PT and Fitness was a big success. Not only did our 20 participants with Down syndrome attend 93% of the workouts 3 times a week for 12 weeks, they also significantly improved their strength, balance, endurance and gait! Participants and their families said the following about our exercise program:

– “Living in a remote location, the online program is so convenient and I don’t think being remote is taking anything away from the personal attention and feedback that my son receives from Coach Sarah.”

– “I’ve seen tremendous growth in my son’s ability to engage people he has just met because of what Coach Sarah does”

– “We think the exercise program is GREAT! Our son really knows and enjoys the routine, and his parents have been practicing having him be more independent and needing less prompting.”

– “My daughter has lost weight, and her clothes are fitting beautifully! Friends who have not seen her are amazed at the toning and self confidence she has since the start of the program.”

– “We absolutely LOVE Coach Sarah’s motivation and energy! The way she brings everyone together in a family friendly and heartfelt way is phenomenal.”

For more information, please email!

Science Meets Practice Workshops Final Spring Schedule

We have finalized our schedule of the Science Meets Practice Workshops for Spring 2022, and we are very excited for the topics and guest speakers that will share their expertise and experience!

Doctor of Physical Therapy students present research at National Conference of the American Physical Therapy Association

Twelve Doctor of Physical Therapy students have presented their research on the effects of a remote exercise program in individuals with Down syndrome at the CSM 2022, the national conference of the American Physical Therapy Association. They even won an Award for Social Responsibility!! Gait, balance and cardiorespiratory capacity in individuals with Down syndrome were all improved after our remote exercise program. For these projects, we collaborated with our amazing partner Coach Sarah Mann, from Mann Method PT and Fitness in Colorado, who owns a PT Clinic exclusively for individuals with Down syndrome. All twelve students are currently working on research papers to publish these results in peer-reviewed journals and share with an even bigger audience! Go Kristina, Allie, Mark, Andrew, Andie, Lena, Ben, Johny, Chris, Taylor, Daniel and Robert!

Collaboration with the Down Syndrome Program of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV

We are happy to announce that we will be co-hosting the new Spring Series of our Science Meets Practice Workshops with Dr. Kate Martin of the new Down Syndrome Program of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV. In these Workshops we will break down the science on important topics for families with a loved one with Down syndrome, then there will be time for questions in the ‘Meet’ section of the Workshop, and then we will put the information into practice with an interactive exercise together. Please see the flyer for more details!

Brain Health and You Lunchtime Series: “Get Moving, Stay Balanced”

On Wednesday November 24th Dr. Thessa Hilgenkamp participated in the most recent UNLV Lunchtime Open Forum Series “Brain Health and You”, together with Dr. Jennifer Nash and Amanda Leisgang, hosted by Dr. Kate Zhong. This event addressed questions like: Why is exercise also good for your brain? How much physical activity is necessary for brain health? And also: how can you exercise safely and reduce the risk of falling? If you missed this event, the recording is now available at:

Collaboration between DSOSN and UNLV

Last Science Meets Practice Workshop of 2021: November 24 at 7pm PST on “Down syndrome and Brain Health”.

New Series scheduled for 2022 (January 26th 2022 at 7pm), more information to follow!