Treatment Available for Children with Prader-Willi Syndrome
Whilst there is no cure for Prader-Willi syndrome the treatment of the associated symptoms is possible with the help of a number of different health professionals. This depends on the symptoms that are present in the individual child. A speech pathologist may be involved in the treatment process for a number of reasons.
From birth children with Prader-Willi syndrome may struggle with feeding which requires the assessment and intervention of a speech pathologist. Most feeding complications arise due to low-muscle tone extremely which may mean they need to be fed through a nasogastric tube or require special feeding utensils and bottle teats. As the child begins to gain weight a special diet plan should be formulated in consultation with a dietician, so that growth needs can be taken into account
Since these children spend a lot of time sleeping, it is important that when awake they receive as much visual stimulation and social interaction as possible when awake so that they don’t all behind in their social and language development. As changes in behaviour begin to arise, behavioural management becomes increasingly important and a multidisciplinary approach should be taken. All individuals that regularly interact with the child should be instructed to handle difficult situations in a similar manner to keep tantrums to a minimum and assist with the child’s behavioural development.
When children with Prader-Willi syndrome are enrolled into the education system it is important for their speech pathologist, carers and teachers to be aware of possible weaknesses in maths and writing and target these areas specifically to avoid falling behind in these areas from an early age. It is also important to encourage possible strengths in reading and art skills to improve motivation, emotion regulation and self-esteem as like all children they perform better when efforts are praised and acknowledged, and will persevere at tasks if they are well motivated.
Choosing the optimal time for educational endeavours is also important as people with Prader-Willi syndrome tire easily and may fall asleep during the day therefore morning is typically their optimal learning time. Using visual aids and cues during teaching exercises is essential for learning as their short-term auditory memory is often weak and these strategies will assist with transfer into long term memory. A speech pathologist will also help tackle the common problems of rigid though patterns and preservative thinking, allowing individuals to think and understand more abstract ideas and adapt in unfamiliar environments.
Are children with Williams Syndrome eligible to receive Government funding for therapy?
Children who have been diagnosed with of a range of disorders, including Williams Syndrome, may be eligible to receive funding for therapy and resources until your child turns 7. The Better Start for Children with Disability initiative includes up to $12,000 in funding for early intervention services and treatments for eligible children. Additional assistance is also available for eligible children who live in outer-regional, rural or remote locations to help with the costs of accessing services. A Medicare rebate is also available for eligible children up to the age of 13.
If you have questions about speech pathology contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a speech pathologist. We‘ll provide you with a straightforward, efficient and very effective treatment plan targeted to your concerns. Contact Us Today!
You can read more about Prader-Willi Syndrome at: Prader-Willi Syndrome Association of Australia