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Autism in Children Topics..

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

Rett's Syndrome Causes

Rett’s  syndrome is autism spectrum disorder that affects girls. The causes of Rett’s  syndrome are genetic. Rett’s  syndrome in boys is very rare, but if it occurs, it is very fatal. Know about some of the causes and stages of Rett’s  syndrome.

Rett’s syndrome is a disorder of the nervous system which leads to developmental reversals, particularly in the areas of hand use and expressive language. Rett’s syndrome is a severe and rare form of autism which affects girls only. This disorder comes to light normally in the first two years of a child’s life. There is no cure for this type of autism. However, early intervention and treatment can help children cope with this disorder to greater extent.

Rett’s Syndrome Affects Girls Only

Rett’s syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder which exclusively affects girls only. This is a rare disorder. Statistically only one in 10,000 to 15,000 girls develops this condition. Normally, symptoms of this syndrome will start appearing in a child in early life itself. 

What are some of the Known Causes of Rett’s Syndrome?

Rett’s syndrome is known to be a genetic disorder. However, in most cases this syndrome is not hereditary or inherited. Basically the genetic mutation which causes this disorder occurs spontaneously and randomly. It may occur at the stage of sperm formation itself or at the time of conception after the sperm and egg meet.

Majority of children with Rett’s syndrome have a mutation in a particular gene on the X chromosome. It has not been established as to how the mutation of this gene leads to Rett’s Syndrome. It appears that the single gene may influence a number of other genes involved in development.

Even though it is believed that Rett’s syndrome is genetic, the faulty gene almost never gets passed on from the parents to the autistic child. Instead it is a chance mutation which happens in the girl child's own DNA.

A number of girls with this syndrome normally live at least into middle age. However, the symptoms of the syndrome rarely improve over time. It is a lifelong condition symptom of which worsens with passage of time or may remain more or less stable. Girls or women suffering from this syndrome will rarely be able to live independently. However, with right intervention and management it is possible to bring improvement to greater extent.

Stages of Rett’s Syndrome

Rett’s syndrome progresses largely through four stages. These include: 

  • Between the ages of 6 to 18 months early symptoms of this disorder will start appearing.
  • During the second stage which is referred to Rapid destructive phase most of the symptoms of the disorder would have set in. This normally happens when the child is between the age of one and four years.
  • Plateau stage is the third stage during which symptoms of the syndrome stop worsening. They may remain as they are in terms of intensity for a very long time thereafter.
  • Loss of movement and motor skills is normally the last stage of the syndrome which starts between five and 25 years of age and can last for decades.

Despite severe symptoms, most patients with Rett syndrome continue to live well into middle age and beyond. However since this disorder is rare there is no reliable statistics available to accurately the life expectancy of these individuals. 

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