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Occupational Therapy for Rett Syndrome

Occupational Therapy may be helpful in improving several aspects of life of an individual with Rett Syndrome. It can help a child be more functional and comfortable on a daily basis.

Below are some of the aims of Occupational Therapy for individuals with Rett Syndrome:

  • Maximise hand function during functional activities
  • Improve the ability to dress
  • Improve independent feeding skills
  • Improve self-care and grooming skills
  • Provide assistive technology as appropriate
  • Improve the ability to tolerate sensory input

Occupational Therapy treatment will be dependent on the findings of a thorough assessment of each individual with Rett Syndrome.

During each stage of Rett Syndrome different Occupational Therapy help will be required, again dependent on the individual's specific needs.

During Stage I, the Occupational Therapist may help in facilitating development. Here the focus is usually on the child's hand skills and the Occupational Therapist will be able to provide various activities for parents/carers to use to help their child develop these movements.

During Stage II, the Occupational Therapy normally focuses on maintaining the level of function. As this is the stage where the child will start to lose motor, language and communication skills it is important to try and maintain them as much as possible. The Occupational Therapist often uses play as an intervention to perform and practice motor and communication skills. Also at this stage, Occupational Therapy will help to teach the child how to perform activities of daily living independently. Many individuals with Rett Syndrome will experience difficulties in sensory processing. Occupational Therapists will provide sensory integration therapy to help aid the normal development of sensory systems.

At Stage III, the Occupational Therapy sessions will focus on motivating the child to continue practising and maintain their physical skills. Occupational Therapists will also ensure that the child is well positioned throughout the day to help decrease the risk of contracture and deformities developing. Also at this stage, home modifications may be suggested to aid with activities of daily living. Adaptive aids can also be of great assistance to the parent/carers of the child with Rett Syndrome.

At Stage IV, the final stage of Rett Syndrome, the focus will be on maintenance of skills as well as providing all necessary adaptive aids. Sensory stimulation activities can allow individuals with Rett Syndrome to have improved alertness and also allows them to respond to their environment.

To arrange an assessment with one of our occupational therapists please contact us by emailing or calling 0330 088 6693.

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