Early Signs of Rett Syndrome

Rett syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder occurring mostly in females in which the child exhibits reduced muscle tone, autistic-like behaviors, stereotyped hand movements consisting of wringing and waving. It is a rare disorder that affects about 1 out of 10,000 children and is the most genetic causes of severe intellectual disability in females. Due to similarities to autism and cerebral palsy, it is often misdiagnosed.

Signs similar to autism include outburst, eye contact avoidance, lack of social reciprocity, sensory issues and loss of speech. Signs of Rett syndrome similar to cerebral palsy include short stature, difficulty with walking, gait movement difficulties and delayed ability to walk.

Typically, children born with Rett syndrome develop normally until the age of 6 and 18 months and reach typical development milestones including eye contact, rolling over and grasping objects. As children grow, motor development begins to slow such as walking and muscle movement. The first signs is usually the loss of muscle tone where the child’s arms and legs appear “floppy.”

Other early signs include:

  • Loss of communication abilities
  • Unusual eye movement
  • Breathing problems
  • Irritable and crying often
  • Intellectual disability
  • Seizures
  • Scoliosis
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Irregular heartbeat
More Resources on Rett Syndrome

Over 30 Online Resources on Rett Syndrome

 

Asperger’s Syndrome Resources

aspergers blog

What is Asperger’s Syndrome?

According to NINDS, Asperger syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized be an impairment in language and communication skills and repetitive behavior with typically an IQ of 70 and above.

Other Known Names
  • High Functioning Autism
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Aspies
  • Autistic
  • Neurodiverse
Comorbid Attributes
Characteristics
  • Difficulty in forming friendships
  • A preference for playing alone or with older children or adults
  • May be socially awkward
  • May not understand conventional social rules
  • Limited eye contact
  • May not understand the use of gestures or sarcasm
  • Obsessive preoccupation with objects
  • Normal physical growth and development
  • Need for sameness.
Statistics
  • 1.5:1 to 16:1 per 1,000
  • Males more likely to have Asperger’s syndrome than females
  • Females with Autism Spectrum Disorder (high functioning may be underdiagnosed
  • All racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups are impacted.
History
  • Leo Kanner, an Austrian-American psychiatrist in 1943 published a paper entitled, Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact, which described 11 children who were highly intelligent but displayed an ‘obsessive insistence on persistent sameness.’ He later named the condition- “early infantile autism.”
  • Hans Asperger’s, a Viennese child psychologist published the first definition of Asperger’s syndrome in 1944. He noted in four boys, a pattern f behavior and abilities including a lack of empathy, little ability to form friendships and clumsy movement.
Online Community Support

Wrong Planet– A web community designed for individuals (and parents/professionals) with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, PDD and other neurological differences. The website provides a discussion forum, articles, how-to-guides and therapy services.

Teaching Strategies – The following articles are for teachers and service providers on techniques and strategies when teaching or providing services to a child with Asperger’s Syndrome.

6 steps to success for Asperger’s syndrome

AS teaching strategies

Classroom tip for students with Asperger’s Syndrome

Teaching Asperger’s students: 32 tips for educators

Teaching strategies for Asperger students

Organizations

Asperger/Autism Network (AANE). Founded in 1996 by a small group of concerned parents and professionals. AANE works with individuals, families and professionals and provides information, education, community support and advocacy.

Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association (AHA). AHA helps families and individuals become more informed self-advocates.

Selected Articles on Asperger’s Syndrome

A powerful identity, a vanishing diagnosis (New York Times)

Autism and Asperger’s not easily understood (Fort Madison Daily Democrat)

Autism can be an asset in the workplace, employers and workers find (NPR)

My lifelong struggle with Asperger’s (Policy.Mic)

Navigating life with Asperger’s (Voice of Muscatine)

Program created to help EMT’s with autistic patients (EMS1.com)

Unmasking Asperger’s syndrome (Business Standard)

What It’s like to live with autism as an adult (Good Housekeeping)

Articles For Parents of Children with Asperger’s Syndrome

8 tips for parents of kids with Asperger’s syndrome

Ask Dr. Sears: Coping with Asperger’s syndrome

Raising a child with Asperger’s syndrome

Understanding Asperger’s syndrome disorder- Parent Guide