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Fragile X

Fragile X Syndrome

Fragile X Syndrome is a condition that is associated with learning disabilities and can affect a child in many different ways, including their social, emotional, language and behavioral facets. (http://fragilex.org.uk/FragileX/tabid/57/Default.aspx)

This syndrome is one of the most commonly inherited conditions, along with Down’s Syndrome and those struggling with it often require a very comprehensive treatment plan.

The name “Fragile X” comes from the discovery that there is a link between a certain type of mental handicap and a specific abnormality on the X chromosome. This condition is present in about 1 in 4,000 boys and about 1 in 8,000 girls.

The Symptoms of Fragile X Syndrome

Children with Fragile X Syndrome  often struggle with their fine and gross motor skills, so they commonly appear “floppy”. Due to this problem, many require assistance throughout their lives in order to carry out more complex tasks. It is important to remember that not all children present with the same symptoms; they tend to vary depending on the severity of the condition, as well as the conditions that present along with this syndrome.

The physical features of children with Fragile X tends to be as follows; large head, large jaw, long face, prominent ears and double jointedness. These features tend to become much more marked in older children; for this reason, younger children aren’t diagnosed with the condition as frequently. 

Speech and Language Problems

Speech and language problems are quite common for those with Fragile X Syndrome, even for those with average or above average intelligence, and they tend to struggle with emotional issues, difficult behaviors and even Autistic characteristics. (http://www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/help-and-advice/special-needs-advice/types-of-sen/genetic-disorders/188/fragile-x)

Learning difficulties are present in about 80% of the boys and about 25% of the girls struggling with this condition, although the severity ranges from subtle delays to severe handicaps. Many children with this condition struggle with facets such as organizing their thoughts, visual-spatial abilities, sequential processing, numeracy and short-term memory. It should be noted that intellectual development often begins to decline as the child reaches puberty and then adolescence. About 30% of children with this condition develop epilepsy later on in life.

Behavioral Problems

Boys tend to display much more marked behavioral problems than girls, but this is because they tend to become much more withdrawn, instead of acting out, which is more common in males. Children with Fragile X might be overactive, easily distracted, display obsessions due to anxiety and display impulsive behaviors. It is quite common for these children to get irritable very easily, throw tantrums or even become aggressive when they are confused or overly anxious.

Controlling Environmental Factors

Certain environmental factors could end up causing children with Fragile X to act out and this is particularly in instances where something in their external world is causing them to be over-stimulated, anxious or fearful. Routine and is a very important thing for these children.

Autism and Fragile X Syndrome

Autism is a condition that is sometimes presented along with Fragile X. Children with both conditions often show symptoms that include; poor eye contact, a resistance to change, social anxiety, insistence on routine, abnormal levels of shyness, repetitive behaviors and strong fascinations. It is interesting to note, however, that these children don’t display the same aversion to affection as children with autism.

Diagnosing Fragile X

In order to diagnose this condition it is necessary to conduct a DNA analysis. Keep in mind that a prenatal diagnosis is also possible and requires either a fetal blood sampling or a chronic villus.

Treating Fragile X

To treat this condition, medical professionals usually make use of a comprehensive plan that includes educational, medical, psychological and social treatments that are designed specifically to suit a child’s individual needs. With the right treatments, a child’s prognosis can improve and in many instances, individuals have gone on to lead independent lives.