Cognition and Learning
How Glut1 Deficiency patients learn, think, remember, and use knowledge
Glut1 Deficiency is a complex disease with cognitive implications for most patients that impact thinking, behaving, and interacting with the world. The cognitive impacts can be quite variable from patient to patient, affected not only by the underlying disease mechanisms around glucose supply to the brain and the impact on brain function, but also by seizures and movement disorders that can further impede cognitive development.
There is much still that we don't know, but it is important to remember that there are environmental factors that can have a tremendous impact on cognitive development and intelligence and there is much that can be done to help improve the outcomes long term. It is also important to understand your loved one's individual cognitive profile so that you can better advocate for services (therapies, benefit programs, and school services), better understand the prognosis, and help better plan for the future.
Learning and School Performance
Although the cognitive ability levels among Glut1 Deficiency patients vary greatly, the following general characteristics are particularly helpful to keep in mind when planning for more successful school experiences.
Weak Areas Include:
Strong Areas Include:
When planning instructional programs for Glut1 Deficiency patients, it is important to build upon strengths as weaknesses are remediated. The most appropriate school setting and support services vary based on individual needs and available resources. Some patients do well in a regular education program with supports and some need a more specialized setting.
Most countries have legal processes in place to protect the rights of students with disabilities. Parents and school staff work together to develop instructional goals, identify learning needs and the services and accommodations schools will provide to meet those needs, and how progress will be measured. Remediations, special learning programs, school-based therapies, testing accommodations, assistive technology, and small group and one-on-one instruction/assistance can all be beneficial to academic success for Glut1 Deficiency patients.
Other types of planning help ensure that students with disabilities receive the accommodations necessary to be as successful as non-disabled students and have equal to educational opportunities. This can cover more non-instructional needs or areas such as special transportation, special scheduling or seating, behavior charts, modified attendance, mobility devices, participation in extra-curricular programs, or special supervision or accommodations at meal times or for extra snack breaks (especially important for those on dietary therapies).
It is important for family members to be active and vocal participants in developing school-based plans, and to educate, collaborate, and form partnerships with school personnel in order to best meet the unique and individual needs of Glut1 Deficiency patients.