Speech Therapy

Rett Disorder – Causes And Symptoms

It pained me endlessly to see my friend cry inconsolably when she found out that her only daughter is suffering from Rett Disorder and the symptoms are very severe in her case. It disturbed me for many nights and there were times when I was absolutely in two minds if I should ever have my own baby or not! I was scared! It would be unbearable for any parent to see his or her child gradually losing the ability to speak, walk, or live a normal child life. Let us understand more about the syndrome.

What Is Rett Disorder?
It is a disorder of neurodevelopment and it primarily affects girl child. The new born baby girl grows normally like any other child for some time, but then the symptoms start becoming evident. Gradual loss of hand movements, weak muscles, impaired motor skills, etc and many other mental symptoms too appear.

Causes Of The Syndrome:
Mutation is main reason for this syndrome in girls. Mutation in simple words is any change or alteration in chromosome or genes. In this condition, mutation of gene MECp2 which controls the brain development genes is primarily responsible.

Symptoms Of The Disorder:
Following are the signs that this disorder can result in and the severity of it differs from one child to another.

  • Any baby with this disorder has smaller head size when compared to a normal baby of the same age.
  • Physical and mental growth is not up to the mark.
  • After a normal development, a sudden reduction in the abilities and skills of the child is seen.
  • The child cries for longer periods of time inconsolably.
  • Avoids eye contact and the verbal and non-verbal communicational skills are impaired.
  • Seizures are very common in these kids but the severity can vary from one child to another.
  • The spine of the child is usually curved. This condition is called scoliosis.
  • They are usually left bedridden with minimum or no crawling and walking movements.
  • They suffer from gastrointestinal problems, and constipation, etc.
  • Ability to speak is slowly lost.
  • Motor skills too are reduced, and the child develops its own pattern of hand movements like wringing, clapping, or flapping.
  • They show lack of interest in the surroundings, people, things, and show no response towards them.
  • They have difficulty in swallowing and feeding on food.
  • Grinds teeth.
  • Weak muscles.
  • Repeatedly putting hand in mouth, exhibiting odd behavior, pulling hair, or laughing without any reason are some of the other signs.
  • They have problem breathing normally. They either hold back breath or breathe too fast.
  • After the initial loss of their verbal and non-verbal communications, they regain some of the abilities like eye contact, hand gestures etc.

These are some of the causes and symptoms of rett disorder which can help the parents of such children understand the signs early and consult the doctor at the earliest. Though there is no treatment available for the syndrome at present, there are many other treatments that can help reduce the severity of the symptoms.

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