Fragile X Syndrome is the most common inherited cause of intellectual and developmental disability. Here are the facts and figures about the condition.
Statistics say that Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is a common cause of intellectual disabilities in the Philippines. An article by FragileX.org shares a surprising estimate of 10,000 individuals (and other carriers) who have it in the country.
Despite this, there is still a great lack in understanding and recognizing this condition. This is mainly “due to the availability and cost of testing in the Philippines,” says Dr. Colleen Noelle Carlos-Viray, a developmental behavioral pediatrician who volunteers at Special Olympics Pilipinas.
Proper education about intellectual and developmental disabilities can be the first step towards better advocating for them. In this article, we discuss the facts and figures surrounding Fragile X Syndrome.
What is Fragile X Syndrome?
Fragile X Syndrome is the most common inherited cause of intellectual and developmental disability. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines it as being caused by changes in the gene called Fragile X Messenger Ribonucleoprotein 1 (FMRI1) which is needed for brain development. Both men and women can have FXS though studies have shown that females usually have milder symptoms than males.
Those who have FXS have noticeable physical attributes like prominent jaws and foreheads and thinner faces. However, these features become even more noticeable past puberty. Behavioral characteristics, on the other hand, include anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism. While the exact number of people with FXS is still unknown, the CDC estimates that about 1 in 7,000 males and 1 in 11,000 females have this disability.
Fragile X Syndrome and Autism
Fragile X Syndrome is a leading cause of autism. According to Spectrum News, about one in three people diagnosed with the disorder also has autism. Moreover, the CDC has also suggested that about 90 percent of men with FXS also show autism traits like eye contact avoidance. Experts also notice, however, some divergent developmental trajectories among those with FXS and autism. For example, someone diagnosed with autism may experience worse social problems than those diagnosed with both conditions.
FXS in the Philippines
Despite the fact that there are already several laws catering to persons with disabilities like the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, the Education Act of 1982, and the Philippine Action Plan for EFA, Child and Youth Welfare Code, we have more to do in order to improve community awareness about Fragile X Syndrome.
This is one advocacy that the Special Olympics Pilipinas has always been working hard for. Through sports and other activities that allow participants to become Athlete-Leaders, the organization aims to empower persons with intellectual abilities by giving them opportunities to be active members of the community.
At Special Olympics Pilipinas, we encourage people with intellectual abilities across different social classes, age brackets, and regions to join. We hold year-round sports training and athletic competitions for sports like basketball, cheerleading, athletics, football, swimming, and more.
We invite everyone who wants to make a change to help push forward our message. Learn more about our mission here.