Weighted Blanket for Rett Syndrome

What is Rett Syndrome?

Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that happens during infancy. It was formerly included as an autism spectrum disorder. Before, it was usually diagnosed as cerebral palsy or non-specific developmental delay. However, studies have proven that Rett Syndrome is genetically based.

This genetic disorder most often affects girls and is rarely seen in boys. It can happen to any racial and ethnic groups and can occur in 1 of every 10,000 female births. The disorder can affect overall growth and development of a child and impede speech, learning, movement, breathing, cardiac function, and digestive function.

This disorder can be mildly or severely debilitating and can cause cognitive, emotional, motor, sensory and autonomic function problems. Though there is no cure for Rett Syndrome, identifying and diagnosing Rett Syndrome at an early age will allow for earlier treatment.

What causes Rett Syndrome?

Rett Syndrome occurs when there is a mutation on the X chromosome. This mutation is genetic and has different variations usually affecting the MECP2 gene. This is rarely inherited and happens because there are problems with protein production for brain development.

What are the risk factors of Rett Syndrome?

The most common risk factor among all Rett Syndrome sufferers is that they are female. Most of those afflicted with the disorder are female infants. The mutation is nonhereditary and can be sporadic, however it has been linked that there is a higher chance of developing the mutation within some generations in a family.

How is Rett Syndrome diagnosed?

To diagnose Rett Syndrome, doctors will ask for parents to monitor their child’s growth and development. Checking for family medical history can be helpful to the attending physician. Since Rett Syndrome is such a rare disorder, tests may be done to rule out other diagnosis.

What are the symptoms of Rett Syndrome?

Symptoms may vary from person to person. However, babies with the disorder usually seem to grow and behave normally for the first six months of their lives. The symptoms can develop during 12 to 18 months of age. These are some of the symptoms of Rett Syndrome:

  • Loss of communication abilities
  • Impaired movement and coordination
  • Slow brain growth and microcephaly
  • Abnormal hand movements
  • Cross eyed/unusual eye movements
  • Abnormal rapid breathing (hyperventilation)
  • Irritability
  • Loss of sight
  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Seizures
  • Scoliosis
  • Heart problems
  • Increased risk of pain due to complications
  • Abnormalities in behavior such as hand licking

What are the stages of Rett Syndrome?

There are four stages of Rett Syndrome. The first stage happens between 6 to 18 months of age and can last for a few months or a year. The second stage is more rapid and happens during 1-4 years of age and can be gradual. This is where problems with movement and coordination begin.

For the third stage, this can begin in between 2 to 10 years old and last for many years. Seizures may happen during this time. Slowed head growth, hyperventilation, movement and coordination problems occur. For the last stage, late motor deterioration occurs and begins after age 10. There is reduced mobility, communication, and understanding.

What are the complications of Rett Syndrome?

Usually, people who are afflicted with Rett Syndrome develop complications that would need lifelong care and assistance especially with activities of daily living. Rett Syndrome sufferers have unusual sleeping patterns and have difficulty with falling asleep. Poor nutrition due to digestive problems can cause delayed growth and the condition can also be the cause for muscle and joint problems. People with Rett Syndrome also don’t live as long due to heart problems and complications.

What are the treatments for Rett Syndrome?

There is no cure for Rett Syndrome, however there are various treatments recommended by doctors for relief of symptoms. These treatments are usually necessary to support a Rett Syndrome sufferer throughout their life.

  • Medications. Treating symptoms for complications like seizures and problems with breathing can be done through prescribing medication.
  • Therapy. Various forms of therapy such as speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy are needed to assist with balance, flexibility, activities of daily living, and verbal and non-verbal communication.
  • Nutritional support. It’s ideal to have proper nutrition to enhance growth and development. Assisting a Rett Syndrome sufferer with eating is important since these individuals often have a hard time swallowing and may choke. A high-caloric diet is recommended so they meet their daily nutritional needs.
  • Family and school support. These individuals can be assisted with integration to school and work. It’s important to have full family support since these individuals need full assistance with mobility, understanding, and many other aspects.

How does Miran Blanket help individuals who suffer from Rett Syndrome?

Individuals who have Rett Syndrome may experience intense sleep disturbances. Seizures, teeth grinding, night screaming, and daytime napping are among the problems that Rett Syndrome sufferers undergo which makes going to sleep a challenge.

Weighted blankets by Miran are designed with glass microbeads coated in polyester which gives the blankets the added weight. The hug-like sensation reduces movement and provides a sense of safety and security that helps an individual with Rett Syndrome relax. It’s a cost-effective and non-invasive way to help address sleep-related problems.