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Cri Du Chat Syndrome and the Role of Physio

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Closeup of a newborn baby boy's feet

Cri Du Chat syndrome is a condition in which a person is missing a portion of chromosome number 5. This condition causes a child to present with a very high-pitched wail that sounds like a cat meowing. The name cri du chat comes from French and means “cry of the cat”.

This syndrome is very rare with an incidence of 1 in 20,000-50,000 chance and it is slightly more common female babies than males.  All ethnic groups have an equal chance of being born with Cri Du Chat.  Although Cri Du Chat syndrome can be sporadic, it can also occur due to family genetics and can be passed down to offspring.

Symptoms of Cri Du Chat Syndrome:

  • The main symptom is a high-pitched wailing cry that sounds like a cat or a kitten.
  • Slanted eyes.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Slow growth.
  • Oddly shaped ears.
  • Learning disability.
  • Webbing of fingers and toes
  • Wide set eyes.
  • Speech delay and communication problems.
  • Neonatal complications (poor suck, respiratory distress, jaundice).
  • Hypotonia (floppy muscles)
  • Microcephaly (small head size)
  • Cardiac defects
  • Global developmental delay (communication, cognitive, gross and fine motor skills)
  • Behavioural problem (hyperactivity/poor concentration)
  • Scoliosis (spinal curve)

How can a Physiotherapist help?

A paediatric physiotherapist can help your child develop strength and progress through their gross motor skill milestones from infancy to childhood – from rolling to walking to running to jumping.  Assessment of your child at regular intervals will also help to set realistic gross motor goals and help to discuss prognosis in terms of motor development, as every child with Cri Du Chat syndrome is different.  A physiotherapist can also identify sports and community based activities to help with inclusion and gross motor skill development such as trike trials, hydrotherapy and horse riding.  They can also monitor your child’s musculoskeletal system as they grow for signs of scoliosis and flat feet and make timely appropriate referrals to consultants, orthotists and other therapists to enhance your child’s development and health.

Are you looking for a specialist paediatric physiotherapist to work with your child?  We can see your child at home and we can often arrange the first appointment within 24 hours.  Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email us at