Each year in the United States, approximately 50 to 60 children are born with Cri Du Chat Syndrome, also known as Cat Cry Syndrome or 5p Minus Syndrome. Cri Du Chat can be characterized at birth by a high pitched cry, low birth weight, poor muscle tone, microcephaly and potential medical complications. “5p-“ is a term used by geneticists to describe the portion of chromosome number five that is missing in these individuals.

Children born with this rare genetic defect will most likely require ongoing support from a team of parents, therapists, medical professionals, educational professionals and extended family members to help the child achieve his or her maximum potential.

Years ago, it was common to place children with CDC in institutions with other severely developmentally delayed individuals. During the early 1980s, research revealed that those raised in family settings with the benefit of early intervention programs made remarkable progress, far exceeding the expectations of doctors who first described the syndrome.

Most individuals who have CDC have difficulty with language. Some eventually learn to use short sentences, while others express themselves with a few basic words, gestures or through sign language.

Nearly all children with this syndrome have poor muscle tone when they are young. Other characteristics may include feeding difficulties, delays in walking, hyperactivity, scoliosis, reflux, asthma and significant cognitive delays. A small number of children are born with serious organ defects and other life-threatening medical conditions, although most individuals with CDC can anticipate a normal life expectancy.

Both children and adults with this syndrome are usually friendly and happy, and enjoy social interaction. With early and consistent educational interventions, as well as physical and language therapy, children with Cri Du Chat Syndrome are capable of reaching their fullest potential and can lead full and meaningful lives.