Moebius syndrome is a rare neurological disorder that is present at birth. It affects the 6th and 7th cranial nerves ceasing the ability of the children with the syndrome to move their faces. They can’t smile, suck, frown, blink their eyes, or move their eyes laterally. Other cranial nerves that can be included are 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th and 12th. 30 % of children with Moebius syndrome may be on the autism spectrum. This condition may be sometimes present along with Pierre Robin syndrome and Poland’s anomaly.
- Lack of facial expression, inability to smile
- Oral Motor Difficulties
- Feeding, swallowing disorder. Have to keep head back to swallow
- Difficulty in perfoming other vegetative functions like blowing, chewing and biting
- Other oral difficulties
- High arched palate
- Short or deformed tongue
- Limited movement of the tongue
- Submucous cleft palate
- Dental problems
- Eye Defects
- sensitivity due to inability to squint
- Absence of lateral eye movement
- Absence of blinking
- Cross eyed ( strabismus)
- Motor delays due to upper body weakness
- Hearing Impairment
- Limb deformities
- Club feet
- Hand and feet deformities
Speech and Language Features
- Delayed speech and Language milestones
- Articulation difficulties ( unclear speech) due to poor oral motor function and presence of other oral difficulties as mentioned above.
- Above average intelligence
Moebius syndrome is a genetic disorder. The exact cause is still under research. The occurrence of this condition is said to be sporadic, happening once in a family.
Since the condition involves a host of symptoms, various professionals are needed for chalking out a management plan for a child affected with Moebius syndrome. The team includes – Surgeons for correcting the facial features, eye surgeons for correcting eye defects, Speech language pathologists for helping in the feeding, swallowing and speech language deficits, occupational therapists for sensory integration and audiologists for hearing impairment.
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