Stramski Children’s Developmental Center at Miller Children’s Hospital is home to Southern California’s only Fragile X Program. Fragile X is a family of genetic conditions that’s caused by changes in the same gene. Fragile X syndrome is the most common known single gene cause of autism. Approximately one-third of all children diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome also have some degree of autism. Clinical evaluations and treatments of patients with Fragile X is an important component of the Behavioral Neurodevelopment program at the Stramski Center.
The Fragile X mutation often worsens when passed from mother to child. Because of this, children born with Fragile X syndrome frequently appear in families with no previous history of mental disability. Fragile X appears in children of all ethnic, racial and socio-economic backgrounds. Some of the characteristics include
A multi-disciplinary care team is involved with the Fragile X program, including behavioral pediatricians, geneticists, psychologists, neurologists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, pathologists and social workers. Children with Fragile X syndrome, including those with the full mutation and those with the permutation, are evaluated. The Fragile X genetic mutation can be accurately diagnosed with a simple DNA blood test.
At this time, there is no cure for Fragile X, but the Stramski Children’s Developmental Center supports research initiatives to help with treatment plans and diagnosis. Some symptoms of Fragile X are treatable with a multi-disciplinary therapeutic approach incorporating educational, behavioral and medical management techniques, including medications. Occupational, physical and speech therapies are incorporated into the treatment plan.
For children, medical treatment focuses on hyperactivity (ADHD) symptoms, tantrums, anxiety mood instability and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Occupational therapists can use sensory integration techniques, along with the child’s teacher and parents, to improve these children’s ability to organize their behavior, learn new information and increase their potential for a productive life. Stimulants are commonly prescribed as a way to help control some symptoms of Fragile X.
The Fragile X Program is a part of the Behavioral Neurodevelopment program at the Stramski Center. Visit the Behavioral and Neurodevelopment Center.
For more information on Fragile X, visit the National Fragile X Foundation website.