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Behavioral Challenges With Prader-Willi Syndrome

March 07, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 312

Prader-Willi is a rare syndrome, affecting both males and females equally. It is caused by a deletion or mutation on chromosome 15, inherited from the father during the conception stage. The disorder manifests itself in two phases and with abnormalities beginning at birth causing complications. This article will discuss the issues and behavioral challenges that can occur with the second phase. This phase is marked by insatiable hunger.

According to the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association, the average IQ of these individuals is 70, yet those with normal IQs still have deficits in learning, communication and motor that range from mild to severe. Tears can quickly lead to full blown tantrums especially if these individuals have difficulty or an inability to express their wants and needs appropriately. Adults who have trouble communicating can also have significant behavioral challenges due to a low tolerance level for frustrations. These individuals often have strengths in reading, long-term memory and visual spatial skills. Nonetheless, encouraging children to practice their strengths increases and fine tunes their skills. Nothing is more motivating than to see their progress, and being persistent in the pursuit of adversity.

With the intense focus on food, children and adults with Prader-Willi tend to have mental health issues, such as obsessive/compulsive disorders. These behaviors can range from sneaking and hoarding food, or repetitive thoughts, verbalizations and behaviors not related to food. Obsessive/compulsive habits can include collecting and hoarding of possessions, picking at skin irritations and a strong need for predictable daily routines as defined by The ARC of North Carolina. Psychotropic medications can either be used recreationally (to affect how the brain functions, changing the person's perception and mood) or be used therapeutically. With the new medicines and growth hormones, many individuals have a quality life that was not to be expected.

One of the ways that professionals and therapists recommend minimizing the prevalence of challenging behaviors are to change the home environment to accommodate the needs of the person with Prader-Willi. To promote positive behavior from the individual, caregivers use verbal praise and rewards. This affirms and recognizes the positive attempts of the individual's maintaining emotional and behavior control.

By these individuals managing their emotions in regards to food or inappropriate behaviors, these individuals can do many things their normal peers do, such as finish school, achieve activities in their areas of strength, and even work in a job that is appropriate and suitable to their strengths and medical needs. These same adults, can grow and prosper as they age into their teens and adulthood.

Some states offer services and programs for individuals with Prader-Willi, but those that do, often have waiting lists of 6-12 years. Other states have a couple resources for parents to find a physician to treat their child, but the family or child may need to move to obtain services in another state that offers more for their child. Companies such as Community Systems, has mission to help people with disabilities be happy and employable, but contributing members of society.

Julie Callicutt is the owner of Ferko Therapeutic Group, a company specializing in providing intensive rehabilitation therapy to children with disabilities, such as Prader-Willi. If you would like more information, please visit,

Source: EzineArticles
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Behavioral Challenges


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