October is Rett Syndrome Awareness Month!

What is Rett Syndrome?

Rett Syndrome is genetic, neurologic disorder caused by a mutation on the X chromosome.  Rett Syndrome primarily affects girls, but it can affect boys as well. ¹

Rett Syndrome was once thought to be a diagnosis impacting cognition.  However, it is now considered a motor disorder, affecting walking, talking and functional use of hands.  Apraxia is one of the major characteristics that impact people.  Apraxia affects an individuals ability to carry out their intent.  They know what they want to do, but their bodies do not always cooperate.  It is crucial to keep in mind that this does not equate to cognitive delays.  There are other ways our kids can access communication and learning.  Individuals with Rett Syndrome are very expressive with their eyes.  Eye gaze is very much a strength, and many use this as their access to communication!

Years ago, Rett Syndrome was thought of as a degenerative disease, however we now know this is not true.¹ While there are periods of regression, skills can be recouped and individuals continue to learn and gain skills throughout their lifespan.  We presume potential in all those that we work with, and always strive to help those we work with continue to learn communication and literacy!


¹ https://www.rettsyndrome.org/

Tanya Keller

Meet Tanya, our pediatric speech language pathologist and AAC specialist. Tanya moved from Boston to San Diego. She earned her Master's degree from Emerson College in Boston, in Communication Disorders in 2004 and a second master's degree in Assistive Technology from Simmons College in Boston, in 2012. Tanya has provided speech and language services for children who have complex communication needs, using low and/or high tech augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with varying diagnoses. Tanya has been mentored by experts in Rett Syndrome and complex communication needs. She is PODD trained and attends the yearly assistive technology conferences. She has experience using a variety of AAC devices and working with alternative access, including eye gaze and switch use. In her free time, Tanya enjoys exploring San Diego, going to the beach and spending time with her dog.

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