Two-year-old Carly Teague's bright baby
blue eyes light up the room, as she cradles her baby doll and flashes
a huge smile at her mother, Sally.
On the surface, Carly looks like a
normal toddler. But, there's something special about Carly.
"Carly is a very happy little girl,
who just happens to have Rett Syndrome," said [Sally] Teague.
Rett Syndrome is a neurodevelopmental
disorder that affects girls almost exclusively.
"Rett's is a rare form of autism
found in girls," said Teague. "It leads to developmental
reversal, especially in areas of expressive language and hand usage.
It basically stops a girl's production of life."
Before symptoms of Rett's begin, the
child appears to grow and develop normally. Gradually, however,
mental and physical symptoms appear. The onset of this period of
regression is sometimes sudden.
As the syndrome progresses, the child
loses purposeful use of hands and the ability to speak. Other early
symptoms may include problems crawling or walking, diminished eye
contact, and compulsive hand movements such as wringing and washing.
"We first noticed something was
different with Carly around 12 months," said Teague. "She wasn't
walking, talking or even crawling. She's never tried to crawl. She
didn't try to use her fingers to pick up something like a Cheerio."
Teague and her husband, Josh, took
Carly to her doctor for a developmental checkup.
"Each developmental checkup we'd go
to, she was falling more and more behind," said Teague. "That's
when the doctor sent us to a geneticist to see if there was something
else going on."
After observation and testing, the
Teagues, Tellico residents, learned their little girl has Rett Syndrome.
See full story in the Sunday, Jan. 20, edition of The Advocate & Democrat.