Fragile X Syndrome: Mom's Positive Behavior And Approach Towards Children Impacts Disorder Decline

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald February 16, 04:00 am
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Fragile X syndrome in children can improve or decline depending on a mom's approach or parenting style.
(Photo : Michel Porro/Getty Images )

How a mom's positive behavior or approach towards her children can be vital to a child's development. In some cases, it can also matter to the development or decline of certain disorders such as the Fragile X syndrome (FXS).

People with FXS, a genetic condition, are characterized as learning-disabled. They have hyperactive behavior, a lack of focus or cognizance and they also manifest symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD) or autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Some individuals with FXS also suffer from episodes of seizures, according to the Genetics Home Reference.

People with FXS develop some type of genetic mutation in the FMR1 gene. Experts believe that more boys are prone to this disorder than girls.

Researchers from the University of Kansas have learned, however, that apart from genetics and biology, some parenting styles can improve or worsen the condition of children with FXS. The study focused on maternal responsivity or how the mom interacted with her child to drive some results. Their findings were published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Experts observed the homes of 55 children with FXS, between the ages of two to 10, and their moms to determine maternal responsivity. They followed these subjects until they reached adolescence.

Experts noted that children whose moms responded through high positive parenting behaviors, either verbally or non-verbally, improved as they grew older. The researchers saw the same promising impact even for children with autism or low cognitive levels.

Some 56 percent of children with FXS usually manifest declining behaviors at around age 10. Those whose moms have been positive and responsive since the kids were toddlers, however, have significantly shown no decline in their later age.

"There is no doubt that parenting plays a dynamic, cumulative role in human development in concert with biology and other environmental forces," lead study author Steven Warren said, according to Science Daily. "Ultimately the knowledge gained from these studies should pave the way for increasingly effective interventions and treatments," he concluded.

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