What is Rett syndrome?
Rett syndrome was first reported by Dr. Andreas Rett in 1966. Rett syndrome is a complex neurological and developmental disorder in which early growth and development appear normal at first, but then the infant stops developing and affected children even lose skills and abilities.1 Rett syndrome occurs mostly in females.
Currently, Rett syndrome is included as a disorder within the autism spectrum.2 However, researchers are currently discussing changes to the definition of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), which means that Rett syndrome may soon be excluded from the ASD category.3
Over time, the effects of Rett syndrome can lead to cognitive, sensory, emotional, motor, cardiac, and such autonomic (pronounced aw-tuh-NOM-ik) nervous system problems as difficulties with digestion or breathing.4
- Weaving, L. S., Ellaway, C. J., Gécz, J., & Christodoulou, J. (2005). Rett syndrome: Clinical review and genetic update. Journal of Medical Genetics, 42, 1–7. [top]
- American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic criteria for autistic disorder. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders [Fourth edition-text revision (DSM-IV-TR)]. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. [top]
- DeWeert, S. (2011, July 4). Reclassification of Rett syndrome diagnosis stirs concerns. Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI). Retrieved June 21, 2012, from http://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/news/2011/reclassification-of-rett-syndrome-diagnosis-stirs-concerns [top]
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2006). Rett syndrome. Retrieved June 21, 2012. [top]