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Fragile X Syndrome

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Understanding the condition


Fragile X Syndrome is a genetic condition that affects 1 in every 4000 boys and men, and around 1 in every 6000 girls and women.


Trouble learning skills like sitting, crawling, or walking. Some children with the Fragile X gene may not show any symptoms whilst other children may have:

  • Difficulties with language and speech

  • “Temper” tantrums

  • Hand-flapping and not making eye contact

  • Impulse control difficulties

  • Hyperactivity and difficulties paying attention

  • Anxiety

  • Extreme sensitivity to light or sound

  • Aggressive and self-destructive behaviour in boys

Some children with Fragile X may also have changes to their physical features, these include:

  • A large head

  • A long, narrow face

  • Large ears

  • A large forehead and chin

  • Loose joints

  • Flat feet

  • Enlarged testicles (after puberty)

Associated conditions


Almost all boys with Fragile X syndrome will experience  learning disabilities . Girls often experience milder learning disabilities, some may be clinically unaffected.

Many children with Fragile x syndrome display autistic-like behaviour including: avoiding eye contact, anxiety in social situations, insistence on familiar routines and hand flapping or hand biting.


Although children with Fragile X may relate well to others, they may demonstrate autistic-like behaviours when they are somewhere new or unfamiliar.

Challenges faced by students


For a child with Fragile X syndrome, daily life can be challenging from going shopping with family, going to school, using public transport to going on holiday. As children may experience difficulties with social skills, a learning difficulty, anxiety, communication difficulty and obsessions.

In addition, a child may experience aggression, sleep difficulties, excessive activity levels and family non-acceptance.

For strategies and tools on supporting communication, please  click here .

As teachers we need to be aware that a difference in physical features and behaviours can lead to bullying from other children.


 Click here  for strategies and resources to promote integration within the classroom.