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Rett syndrome is a neurodevelopmenal disorder that affects girls almost exclusively. It is characterized by normal early growth and development followed by a slowing of development, loss of purposeful use of the hands, distinctive hand movements, slowed brain and head growth, problems with walking, seizures, and intellectual disability.
The disorder was identified by Dr. Andreas Rett, an Austrian physician who first described it in a journal article in 1966. It was not until after a second article about the disorder, published in 1983 by Swedish researcher Dr. Bengt Hagberg, that the disorder was generally recognized.
The course of Rett syndrome, including the age of onset and the severity of symptoms, varies from child to child. Before the symptoms begin, however, the child generally appears to grow and develop normally, although there are often subtle abnormalities even in early infancy, such as loss of muscle tone (hypotonia), difficulty feeding, and jerkiness in limb movements. Then, gradually, mental and physical symptoms appear. As the syndrome progresses, the child loses purposeful use of her hands and the ability to speak. Other early symptoms may include problems crawling or walking and diminished eye contact. The loss of functional use of the hands is followed by compulsive hand movements such as wringing and washing. The onset of this period of regression is sometimes sudden.
Apraxia — the inability to perform motor functions — is perhaps the most severely disabling feature of Rett syndrome, interfering with every body movement, including eye gaze and speech.
Children with Rett syndrome often exhibit autistic-like behaviors in the early stages. Other symptoms may include walking on the toes, sleep problems, a wide-based gait, teeth grinding and difficulty chewing, slowed growth, seizures, cognitive disabilities, and breathing difficulties while awake such as hyperventilation, apnea (breath holding), and air swallowing
World Alzheimer’s Day is celebrated on the 21st of September each year. A number of organizations, from all over the world concentrate on raising the awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is a very common type of dementia. It falls under the group of disorders in which mental functioning gets impaired. Life for an Alzheimer’s patients is quite difficult, but by following the following tips, you can support yourself and will also help you to cope with it.
- You have to accept the changes and accept that life will continue getting difficult. Instead of trying to cover your difficulties for protection from embarrassment, you should face the fact. You also have to accept the changes in your physical abilities and adapt to skills, which are beneficial.
- You should develop some ideal coping strategies. Try to be occupied and involved and respond to the challenges you face in everyday life. By practicing the coping skills you will be able to gain a sense of control in your life.
- Try to identify stuff. Make a list of all the tasks which seem challenging to you and try to develop coping strategies for these tasks. Prioritize your tasks and determine whether it is really necessary to overcome certain tasks. You should also strategize solutions and come up with solutions which would suit you best.
- You should set realistic goals and expectations for yourself and use the coping skills to deal with difficult tasks. In case of very challenging tasks, do not hesitate to take help.
- A daily routine or plan is required for keeping a track of several tasks. A schedule reduces the amount of time you spend to figure out something, simplifying your task and also prevents mistakes.
- Always approach one task at a time and take enough time to complete tasks. Do not give up on challenging tasks and take breaks to figure things out.
- Always remember that you have more than a single chance to solve problems. If one chance fails, you should adopt new strategies and try again and again with better assessment.
- You should identify the triggers which cause anxiety and stress. Knowing the causes will allow you to plan in advance so that you can prevent them.
- Keep in mind that your family, friends, pets, will power and prayers are sources of great strength and will help you get past any obstacle.
- You should accept help from others and do not hesitate or think about being dependent on others.
You should take the advice from your psychiatrist or from Alzheimer Association National Early-Stage Advisors in order to understand the challenges such as medications, management of schedules and dealing with emotional or relationship changes.