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Behavioural Phenotypes
Behavioural phenotypes
DiannePhipps
Definition

The term ‘behavioural phenotypes’ describes those behaviours displayed by individuals which may be attributed to an underlying genetic causation. The terminology and ideas originated from the studies and teachings of Langdon Down who, in 1866, described people with Down syndrome as having particular personality and behavioural attributes (Collacott et al., 1998), descriptions which were not, incidentally, ratified in later studies of their behaviour. People with learning disabilities do not present as a product of their genetic makeup only, but as individuals with very different personalities, likes, dislikes and behaviours. What, then, can be learned from the study of behavioural phenotypes that is relevant to the lives of people with learning disabilities today and the people who care for and support them?

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