Don't leap to conclusions on my boy's bad behaviour: mum
TO the person on the street, Lathanial Whiting looks like your average young lad but his genetic make-up means he is different to most three-year-old boys.
The Aroona toddler was recently diagnosed with the rare genetic condition 47,XYY.
It has caused delayed development of speech and motor skills, accelerated his growth, weakened his muscle mass and caused him to react in a volatile manner to the smallest of irritants.
Mum Chante is appealing for Sunshine Coast residents to be more open-minded when observing the behaviours of children as they often jumped to incorrect conclusions when they see how her son interacts with his siblings.
The 31-year-old single mother-of-five said she had been chastised by strangers on several occasions.
"Quite a few people give me dirty looks and I've had one lady tell me my child needed a good flogging," she said.
"They see him hitting his siblings and say he needs a smack to bring him into line."
The condition is caused when an error in cell division results in sperm cells with an extra copy of the Y chromosome, which is included in each of the child's body cells when the embryo is forming.
Having brought up three older children with no health complications, Ms Whiting knew early on that Lathanial was different.
He almost died when he was two-weeks-old and he suffered from seizures for eight months of his first year of life.
He started crawling at 14 months and only began to walk at 19 months old.
Until he was diagnosed a week after his third birthday in April, mum Chante was convinced Lathanial had autism.
"He was an extremely quiet baby. All he'd ever do was stare at the sky when he would be outside," Ms Whiting said.
"It is very different compared to when he hit 18 months. All of a sudden he turned into this noisy, in your face child. It has been a big change.
"As he got closer to three, he smashed his bedroom window and has flooded the house twice by turning the kitchen tap on, and he's always hitting his sisters."
A visit to a pediatrician prompted blood work to uncover the underlying cause of the drastic change.
It took 10 weeks for the results to come back after Lathanial's sample was sent to specialists in Western Australia to confirm the results.
Ms Whiting is now doing her utmost to try to raise Lathanial without the aid of the typical treatment options of anti-psychotic medications and is working closely with a Melbourne-based doctor who has conducted extensive studies of the rare condition in the US, where one in 1000 children are born with the condition.
It is still basically unheard of in Australia.
Ms Whiting continues to equip herself with new sets of skills to help her son through each day to try and minimise his outbursts.
She tries not to think of what the future might hold for her son.
Conversations on a closed Facebook group with the few people who have children
with 47,XYY reveal the path ahead will not be easy.
"One woman has a son who is 25 and has a lot of criminal issues and another has an 11-year-old who is starting to go down that path," Ms Whiting said.
"It's a scary thing, but now I know what's wrong with him. I can learn how to help him.
"We will deal with many hurdles throughout his life."
47XYY Fact Facts
Characterized by an extra copy of the Y chromosome in each of a male's cells.
Males with this condition may be taller than average.
Associated with an increased risk of learning disabilities and delayed development of speech and language skills.
Can cause delayed development of motor skills (such as sitting and walking), weak muscle tone (hypotonia), hand tremors or other involuntary movements (motor tics), and behavioural and emotional difficulties.
A small percentage of males with 47,XYY syndrome are diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders, which are developmental conditions that affect communication and social interaction.
Most cases of 47,XYY syndrome are not inherited.
The chromosomal change usually occurs as a random event during the formation of sperm cells.
Source: Genetics Home Reference