Rett Syndrome

Rett Syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder that almost exclusively affects girls and has a profound effect on their ability to communicate.

Scientists generally agree that the syndrome has four stages, with the major damage to communications capability occurring in stage two. As the stage progresses, spoken language and movement are affected, leading to difficulties communicating.

Girl gazing off in the distance

Presumed competence

The opinion of the global scientific, education and therapy communities has changed considerably over the last years. It had previously been assumed that people living with Rett Syndrome had very low levels of cognitive ability. Is that really the case?

Read more about Rett syndrome and presumed competence

Picture of a girl with Rett Syndrome and her caretaker using a Tobii Dynavox device

Modeling language

AAC is not just about the individual using the system. In order for someone with Rett Syndrome to learn how to use a communication aid it must be consistently demonstrated to them in the same way as we expect them to use it.

Learn  about ways to help children with Rett model their language

Picture of the Tobii Dynavox I-Series Family ALL

Reading and writing

If we presume competence in people living with Rett Syndrome, then it is essential to get them on the road to literacy as soon as possible.  The reading strategies depend very much on the individual but it starts with reading to them, just like with any other child!

As for writing, having access to a keyboard is an important consideration for everyone who uses AAC, this also includes individuals with Rett.

You can help your child with Rett read and write, here are some tips.


Illustration on how eye tracking works

Appropriate access

Apraxia often becomes heightened on request. Simply put, someone with Rett Syndrome would find it difficult to hit a switch with any consistent timing. The involuntary hand movement make direct access to a touchscreen extremely difficult. Gaze interaction could considered the best access method for someone with Rett Syndrome.

Learn more about computer access, apraxia and eye tracking


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