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Advice on how to take car trips with children with Angelman syndrome

Síndrome de Angelman, consejos para los desplazamientos en coche de niños


Angelman syndrome is a neurological disorder associated with mental disability or delayed development. It has a genetic cause and is characterized by certain psychomotor development disorders and behavioral and learning disorders.

Children with this syndrome may suffer from various neurological symptoms, which can present to a greater or lesser degree, although they may not necessarily experience all of them. For example, they may have gait and postural disturbances and may move their upper limbs in unusual ways, or have abnormal tremulous or jerking movements in their limbs that usually appear in the first few months of life. This lack of coordination can make it difficult to do daily tasks such as walking, eating or picking up objects with their hands.

This is why it is usually said thatthese children's development is slower than usual, given that they start to sit down by themselves without assistance at about one year old whereas the typical age for healthy children is at about six months old. This is not a precise figure however, and it will always depend on the specific child and their development.

Another symptom these children suffer from is epileptic seizures, with onset at around the age of three, although in a quarter of cases they start before they have reached their first birthday. The seizures becomes less severe over time although they will continue to suffer from them in adulthood. The good news is that early diagnosis by EEG can be made in this specific case.

Children with this syndrome usally have sleep disturbances and speech impairment, along with stiff, unstable and jerky movements. They often sweat excessively and tolerate heat poorly.  Above all, these children do not normally achieve complete personal independence.

In terms of taking trips by car, we should look at each specific case and be aware of the child's symptoms and difficulties and act accordingly. It is highly advisable to visit a specialist and clear up any doubts we might have over how best to take our child with Angelman syndrome by car. It is not normally necessary to purchase a special child restraint system, but if the child suffers from regular epileptic seizures we should review this advice on the topic. 

Given that these children need a lot of attention and may have motor coordination difficulties, it is a good idea to travel by their side, where possible. It is important that they are comfortable and properly wrapped up during a long journey and we must of course plan breaks so that all the passengers can rest.

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