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At present, there is no cure for Rett syndrome. People with this condition spend most of their lives in what is referred to as stage three of the disease, which usually begins between age two and ten years. This stage is typically characterized by poor limb control and difficulty walking; teeth grinding and abnormal tongue movements and difficulty handling and manipulating objects.
However, compared with stage two of the disease, some symptoms may seem to improve, with the child possibly becoming less irritable, more alert and developing more of an interest in their surroundings and the people around them. There may also be an improvement in walking ability.
During stage four of the disease the majority of sufferers become completely dependent on care, which they require 24 hours a day. Conditions such as arrhythmia can significantly shorten lifespan but many women do survive into middle age and older.
There is no cure for Rett syndrome and because symptoms can be difficult to manage, children may require help from a variety of professionals. Some of the therapeutic approaches to managing this illness are described below.