Cri du Chat Syndrome
Cri du Chat syndrome is an extremely rare genetic disorder in which children with this syndrome often struggle with psychomotor skills, but they can be helped with the aid of physical therapy. At Jeevam Therapy we specialize in helping families with rare disorders like Cri du Chat, so that they can live more fulfilling, independent lives.
What is Cri du Chat Syndrome?
Cri du Chat syndrome is caused when a part of chromosome 5 is missing in a baby. The most distinguishing sign of the disorder is that the newborn infant’s cry will sound similar to a cat meowing. (Cri du Chat is a French term that translates as “cry of the cat” in English.) The disorder is very rare, being diagnosed in only one out of every 15,000 to 50,000 live births.
Symptoms of Cri du Chat Syndrome
- High-pitched cry during the first few weeks of life
- Low birth weight
- Lack of muscle tone
- Small head circumference
- Distinctive facial features (round face, widely-spaced eyes, abnormally small jaw)
- Cleft lip or cleft palate
- Psychomotor disability
- Mental disability
Not all of the symptoms will be found in all cases of Cri du Chat syndrome. In fact, scientists believe that the symptoms are so mild in some patients that they never receive a diagnosis of Cri du Chat, because the patient is able to lead a completely normal life. But in other patients, the symptoms can be very pronounced. A diagnosis can only be reached through a clinical examination in addition to a chromosomal test.
How Physical Therapy Can Help with Cri du Chat Syndrome
Every course of physical therapy will be unique depending on a child’s diagnosis and symptoms. Here are just a couple of examples to give you an idea of how physical therapy can help a child with Cri du Chat syndrome:
These are “mind-body” skills that neurotypical children have no problems developing. A child with Cri du Chat syndrome may struggle to achieve certain tasks like holding a toothbrush, walking up stairs or other things that require a certain level of mind-body coordination. Physical therapy can help to teach a child with Cri du Chat to do these types of activities.
Lack of Muscle Tone
Physical therapy stretching and exercises can help your child to develop proper muscle tone, so that they are eventually able to have better posture and enjoy healthy play with less of a struggle.
These are just two simple examples of the innovative ways that a physical therapist can help a child with Cri du Chat syndrome. The main thing we want you to know as the parent of a child with Cri du Chat is that we will design an individualized course of physical therapy for your child that you are comfortable with — and which will help your child to thrive!
We Are Here for You
If your child has been diagnosed with Cri du Chat syndrome, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jeevam Therapy at our facilities in Edison and Paramus, NJ. We specialize in treating children just like yours, so click to schedule an appointment today!