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Autism in Children Topics..

You are here : home > Autism in Children > Types of Autism in Children > Rett's Syndrome

Rett's Syndrome

Rett's syndrome is a severe neurological disorder occurring mostly in girls. It is a type of autism spectrum disorder. It is a very serious disorder which leads to a developmental regression. The treatment for Rett’s syndrome lies in different therapies. Read on to know more.

Rett’s syndrome is classified by many researchers as one of the autism spectrum disorders. This syndrome occurs mostly in girls and its symptoms can be very serious. In case of children suffering from this disorder, the head grows very slowly, and language, motor skills and social interaction are severely affected.

The symptoms of Rett’s syndrome are very similar to those of other Pervasive Developmental Disorders with the exception of one major difference. Children with this order may appear typical at birth and develop normally for the first 5 months. Thereafter these children will experience a deceleration of head growth between the age of 5 months and 4 years.

Rett’s Syndrome is a severe neurological disorder which may result in developmental regression, especially in the areas of expressive language and hand use. This disorder is the worst of physically disabling of the family of autism disorders.

In addition to disproportionate growth of the head, cognitive impairment and problems with socialisation are some of the other symptoms of this syndrome. Socialisation normally improves in these children when they start going to school. Girls with Rett’s syndrome are very susceptible to gastrointestinal disorders. Statistically almost 80% of such children will suffer from seizures.

Common Signs of Rett’s Syndrome

What are some of the common signs of Rett’s Syndrome? Children suffering from this disorder will

  • Not make conversations easily.
  • Have problems with reasoning (intelligence) and learning.
  • Not be able to control the use of hands and put the hands in the mouth frequently.
  • Experiencing a slow growth of the head as compared to other parts of the body.
  • Walk in an inflexible manner with feet spread wide apart or on tiptoes.

Rare Symptoms of Rett’s Syndrome

What are some of the very rare symptoms of this syndrome? Children with Rett’s syndrome may

  • Have problems with breathing like gulping too much air which may cause the stomach to swell
  • Have seizures for which medical assistance must be sought
  • Have curved spine also known as scoliosis in medical terms
  • Grind their teeth
  • Experiencing problems while sleeping like sleep apnea

Treatment of Rett’s Syndrome

There is no cure for Rett’s syndrome. However, with the help of medicines some of the symptoms of this disorder like the epileptic seizures can be controlled to a large extent. In case of children with a curved spine surgical treatment may be required. One of the key aspects of treatment of this syndrome is physiotherapy to ensure that the muscles of the hand do not contract. Treatment for this disorder will depend upon the specific symptoms that a child displays. Serious symptoms like difficulty in breathing or seizures must be treated with the help of medicines.

Therapy for Rett’s Syndrome

Basically three types of therapies are recommended for children suffering from this disorder. These are

1. Physical therapy to improve the child’s muscle strength and prevent muscle restriction. This will also assist the child in making use of large muscles in the body. A child can do most of these physical therapy exercises at home after some practice under the guidance and supervision of her parents.

2. Occupational therapy concentrates on developing life skills in a child like dressing and feeding. An occupational therapist will help in assisting a child to train the small muscles in the body and fine motor skills.

3. Speech therapy is required for children suffering from this syndrome who have problems with speaking, swallowing or communicating.

Medical research is still underway to find better methods of treating the symptoms of Rett syndrome. Most of the research studies are focusing on identifying ways to improve movement, communication and provide care and support for affected children and their families.

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