Rhett syndrome is an X-chromosome anomaly. It is the second most common chromosomal anomaly affecting females. In fact, Rhett syndrome is primarily found in females, with 1 in 10,000 infants being diagnosed.
Common Signs and Symptoms
Rhett syndrome has several characteristic signs and symptoms. Seizures and respiratory difficulty are the common signs. These patients also display stereotypical hand movements that are unorganized and show no purpose. Patients also have difficulty with language development.
How Do Rhett Kids Communicate?
Typically, kids with Rhett Syndrome only have a handful of words that they can say clearly. These are single words, as these children typically are only able to make two-or-three-word sentences. Due to their inability to communicate clearly through speech, much research has been done to determine if they can exhibit communication in other ways. Multiple studies have shown that these kids do attempt to communicate via gazing at an object or attempting to point at it. All researchers agree that Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) devices would be extremely helpful in aiding communication.
AAC devices are game changers when it comes to communication for Rhett Syndrome. These devices are large tablets that display easy to recognize pictures or simple words on buttons. The children push the button that corresponds with what they would like. This includes asking for toys, food, or the bathroom. For many children with Rhett syndrome, getting these devices is the first time they have a means to communicate their wants and needs clearly.
Who Provides the AAC Device?
Children with Rhett Syndrome are generally cared for within the school systems special education program. Through the development of an Integrative Education Plan (IEP), which is developed by the parents, educators, and school therapists, the child will receive a comprehensive educational experience. In a special education environment, the school's speech and language pathologist is usually the person that has the ability to request an AAC device. The younger that the child can get access to an AAC device, the better off the child will be.
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