Down Syndrome: Waisman Resources

More than 400,000 individuals in the United States have Down syndrome, or trisomy 21–a chromosomal condition caused by an extra 21st chromosome. Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. Approximately one in every 733 babies is born with Down syndrome each year.


The Waisman Center provides comprehensive clinical care and support for children with disabilities and their families.


Since 2010, Day with the Experts: Down Syndrome has focused on sharing knowledge about Down syndrome across the life course, from research using stem cells to the latest standards of care.


The Waisman BioLibrary is a new Waisman Center initiative. The first study from this project is related to Down syndrome. Visit to learn more.

Waisman Down Syndrome News

Down Syndrome Researchers

Anita Bhattacharyya, PhD
Assistant Professor, Cell & Regenerative Biology

Brad T. Christian, PhD
Professor, Medical Physics & Psychiatry

Sigan Hartley, PhD
Associate Professor, Human Development & Family Studies

Marsha R. Mailick, PhD
Vice Chancellor Emeritus for Research & Graduate Education

Maria Stanley, MD
Medical Director, Waisman Clinics
Clinical Associate Professor, Pediatrics

Audra Sterling, PhD
Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders

Houri Vorperian, PhD
Senior Scientist

Our Partners

The Waisman Center works in collaboration with community partners to serve the Down Syndrome community through outreach and training.

Madison Area Down Sydndrome Society


Gigi's playhouse


Current Research

Anita Bhattacharyya, PhD, engages in basic biological research using Down syndrome-specific human stem cells to study the development of the cerebral cortex and how it is altered in Down syndrome.

Brad T. Christian, PhD, leads a study using neuroimaging techniques (MRI and PET scanning) and other biofluid markers to evaluate the degree of neurodegeneration in the brains of adults with Down syndrome. This information is being correlated with the results of cognitive and behavioral measures done by Sigan Hartley, PhD, to better understand the aging process in this population.

Audra Sterling, PhD, focuses on the cognitive and language development of individuals with developmental disabilities including Down syndrome. A current study seeks to learn more about how spoken language samples can be used to measure change over time in the spoken language, problem solving and behavior of individuals with genetic syndromes.

Houri Vorperian, PhD, studies how the oral and pharyngeal anatomy affects speech in individuals with Down syndrome and other populations. This study analyzes MRI and CT scans to produce a new understanding of the special challenges faced by some people with Down syndrome in speaking, swallowing and breathing.

Resources & Services

Clinical Services and Supports 608.263.3301; Children with Down syndrome are seen in the Waisman Center Genetics Clinic for diagnosis and in the Waisman Center Down Syndrome Clinic for medical management in the areas of feeding, growth, development, communication, behavior, hearing, therapy and support services.

Research Participation 800.965.9205; 608.263.5192;
The Waisman Center’s Research Registry links individuals and families to research projects at the Waisman Center. The Waisman Center maintains a confidential registry of families and individuals who would like to be contacted about upcoming research projects. Enrollment in the Research Registry does not obligate an individual or family to participate in any study.

Waisman Resource Center 800.532.321; 800.265.8610;
The Waisman Resource Center provides free and confidential information and assistance to families and care providers of children with special health care needs. The Waisman Resource Center is staffed full time by a team of professionals in the fields of social work and education, and with experience in a variety of disability-related areas.
Advancing knowledge about human development, developmental disabilities and neurodegenerative diseases

Community Outreach for Children with Challenging Behaviors 608.265.9438;
Community Training, Intervention and Evaluations Services (TIES) is an outreach program for children and adults with developmental disabilities who present various challenging behaviors, including withdrawal, aggression and self-injury. The mission of Community TIES is to address behavioral, psychological, and emotional needs using therapeutic approaches that insure continued participation in the community. TIES provides counseling, crisis response, psychiatric consultation, parent education and support, and training for personnel and program consultation in local human service agencies. Directed by Josh Lapin, MSW, and funded by Dane County, this program maintains an active caseload of approximately 250 children and adults in Dane County.