Abby has been looking forward to starting school, and is excited to meet all the new people that will be working with her this year. Abby’s disability is very unique, so I thought I would take a minute to familiarize you with her disability, and share a little about her with you.
Abby was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome when she turned two years old. Rett Syndrome is characterized by apraxia, or difficulty with motor planning, resulting in the loss of purposeful hand use, loss of expressive speech, and difficulty with ambulation. In addition to these characteristics, individuals with Rett syndrome usually have big expressive eyes, desire for socialization, and many show a love for music. Problems regulating breathing, chewing, digestion, sleep, body temperature are due to difficulty regulating the autonomic nervous system.
Abby is a very happy little girl, who loves to experience many of the same things as her typical peers. She especially loves having stories read to her, listening to music, and playing in water. Her disability prevents her from participating independently in many activities, but with help, she can be included and can thrive.
You will notice that, although Abby is able to walk, she is very unsteady and needs assistance even while taking just a few steps. There are days when she walks better than others, but it is safest for her to be supported at all times. We have found that the most frustrating thing for Abby is her inability to communicate. It is even more difficult for those who do not spend a great deal of time with Abby, as her communication cues are subtle and take time to learn. When she gets frustrated or over-stimulated, music will usually soothe her. We pack headphones and an iPod in her bag, in case she needs them on the bus or throughout the day.
Although she has many obstacles to overcome, Abby is very social and is able to learn and communicate in her own way. I have included a few resources if you would like to learn more about Abby and her journey with Rett Syndrome. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give me a call!
Thank you for helping Abby to make this school year a great one!