Is a genetic condition and is the most common known cause of inherited learning disabilities. It affects around 1 in 4000 boys and men and 1 in 6000 girls and women.
It is caused by a mutation in the fragile X mental retardation 1 gene (FMR1) on the X chromosome.
The only way to tell if someone has Fragile X Syndrome is to do a genetic test.
There is a wide range of characteristics associated with fragile X, but an individual person may only experience some of these. Learning disabilities occur in almost all boys with fragile X, to differing degrees. Some boys have severe learning disabilities, although this is rare. Girls usually have milder learning disabilities than boys, but this is not always the case. Some girls with Fragile X Syndrome may be clinically unaffected.
As well as learning disabilities, common behavioural features include short attention span, distractibility, impulsiveness, restlessness, over activity and sensory problems. Girls with or without learning disabilities may show concentration problems and social, emotional and communication difficulties related to extreme shyness and anxiety in social situations.
Many children and adults show autistic like features, including: avoiding eye contact, anxiety in social situations, insistence on familiar routines and hand flapping or hand biting. Although many people with fragile X relate well to others, anxiety in unfamiliar or unpredictable situations may cause them to act in this way. A substantial minority of individuals with fragile X will show greater problems relating to others and may receive a dual-diagnosis of autism. Speech and language are usually delayed with continuing speech and communication problems. Some children and adults develop epilepsy.
Strengths associated with fragile X include good imitation skills, visual learning and long term memories. People are also often described as having likable personalities, being sensitive to others’ emotions and as having a good sense of humour.
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