ABOUT 5P- SYNDROME

Each year in the United States, approximately 50 to 60 children are born with 5p- Syndrome (five p minus), also known as Cat Cry Syndrome or Cri du Chat Syndrome. 5p- Syndrome is characterized at birth by a high pitched cry, low birth weight, poor muscle tone, microcephaly, and potential medical complications. "5p-" is a term used by geneticists to describe a portion of chromosome number five that is missing in these individuals.

Children born with this rare genetic defect will most likely require ongoing support from a team of parents, therapists, and medical and educational professionals to help the child achieve his or her maximum potential.

Years ago, it was common to place children with 5p- Syndrome in institutions with other severely retarded individuals. During the early 1980s, research revealed that those raised in family settings with the benefit of early intervention programs made remarkable progress, far exceeding the expectations of doctors who first described the syndrome.

Most individuals who have 5p- Syndrome have difficulty with language. Some become able to use short sentences, while others express themselves with a few basic words, gestures, or sign language.

Nearly all children with 5p- Syndrome have poor muscle tone when they are young. Other characteristics may include feeding difficulties, delays in walking, hyperactivity, scoliosis, and significant retardation. A small number of children are born with serious organ defects and other life threatening medical conditions, although most individuals with 5p- can anticipate a normal life expectancy.

Both children and adults with this syndrome are usually friendly and happy, and enjoy social interaction. With early and consistent educational intervention, as well as physical and language therapy, children with 5p- Syndrome are capable of reaching their fullest potential and can lead full and meaningful lives.

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