Redbridge SERC

Fragile X Syndrome


Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited cause of mental impairment.

The syndrome occurs in approximately 1 in 3600 males and 1 in 4000 to 6000 females.

Students with Fragile X syndrome have characteristic physical and behavioural characteristics.

Fact sheets

Training / Help

Hatton Outreach Service generally support pupils who have Fragile X.

You are entitled to refer a pupil to another service if you feel there is a more dominant need.


Screenshot for video: Fragile X syndrome and autism

Fragile X syndrome and autism

This video shows the links between Autism and Fragile X.

Screenshot for video: Fragile X medical profile

Fragile X medical profile

A clear animated video explaining the genetics of Fragile X and why male students are more greatly affected.

Screenshot for video: Fragile X - signs and symptoms of Fragile X

Fragile X - signs and symptoms of Fragile X

This is a good video visually demonstrating the different symptoms associated with Fragile X.

Lesson Resources

Fragile X syndrome lesson planning guide

This Guide is intended for classroom staff, providing practical information that includes:- Fragile X overview, behaviour, learning styles, educational resources, lesson plans and strategies.

Learning Aids

Twinkl Website great resources

Twinkl Website great resources

Available from: Twinkl resources

Highly recommended This is a great site with great clear resources for Literacy, Numeracy, Assessment, Language, Rewards, Visual timetable, Curriculum areas

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the educational implications for males with Fragile X?

    Cognitive strengths among males with fragile X include

    • verbal labelling and single word vocabulary
    • receptive (listening) vocabulary may be higher than expressive (speaking).
    • vocabulary for subjects of interest may also be higher than would be expected based upon overall scores.
    • visual matching and visual perception tasks with meaningful information (e.g. puzzles with a known picture, as opposed to abstract block designs) are often strengths.
    • Visual cueing is often a powerful learning strategy for boys with fragile X, and whole images, such as pictures, logos, or words can often be recognized well.
    • memory for situations and for favourite TV shows, videos, and songs is excellent in many boys.
    • boys and men with fragile X are often wonderful mimics, memorizing tone as well as words. Success with memory tasks seems to be strongly influenced by the meaningfulness and complexity of information presented.
    • good abilities to learn self-care and household management skills,

    Weaknesses could include

    • higher level thinking and reasoning skills. 
    • complex problem solving
    • cause and effect questions, and other abstract tasks are often areas of deficit.
    • visual-motor and visual construction tasks with abstract items (such as bead sequencing and block designs)
    • quantitative skills are also often a weakness for both males and females with fragile X. 
    • Arithmetic abilities may be weaknesses because of visual-spatial problems and poor concepts of quantity and number.
    • socialisation and communication items
  • Is there a different impact upon males and females?

    Impact on males

    • The majority of males with fragile X syndrome will have significant learning difficulties.
    • The spectrum ranges from learning disabilities to severe mental retardation and autism.
    • 80% of males have learning difficulties. In addition, males have a variety of physical and behavioural characteristics.
    • However, no male has all of these characteristics.

    Impact on females

    • Characteristics found in males can be found in females, however generally to a lesser degree.
    • 30% of females have significant learning disabilities; however 70% of females are less effected


  • What are the behavioural characteristics of students who have Fragile X?
    • attention deficit disorders
    • speech disturbances
    • hand biting
    • hand flapping
    • autistic behaviours
    • poor eye contact
    • unusual responses to various touch, auditory or visual stimuli. 


  • What causes Fragile X Syndrome?
    • A change or mutation in a gene on the X chromosome causes the fragile X syndrome.
    • Most individuals have 46 chromosomes, two of which are sex chromosomes.
    • In females, these are two X's; in males they are and X and Y.
    • The gene responsible for fragile X syndrome is called the FMR1 gene.
    • Normally, the FMR1 gene produces an important protein called FMRP.
    • When the gene is turned off, the individual does not make the protein.
    • The lack of this specific protein causes fragile X syndrome.
  • What are the physical characteristics of students who have Fragile X?
    • enlarged ears
    • long face with prominent chin
    • large testicles (in post pubertal males) are common.
    • connective tissue problems may include ear infections, mitral valve prolapse, flat feet, double-jointed fingers, hyperflexible joints and a variety of skeletal problems. 

Family Resources

Autism friendly cinema screenings

0871 22 44 007

Odeon Cinema in South Woodford/Stratford Cinema have Autism friendly screenings. Films will start on promptly with no adverts/trailers. Carers go free.

Ring for the next screening planned.

Fragile X family support


UK Charity specifically supporting families who have children with Fragile X syndrome.

Contact a family


A UK wide charity providing advice, information and support to parents of all disabled children. 

Outreach Services

Hatton Outreach Service

020 8551 4131
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

This specialist outreach support and consultancy service provides support for individual pupils in mainstream primary schools.

The outreach service works with pupils who have a range of significant language, social and learning needs.

Some pupils may have a statement of special educational needs, while others will have significant needs and working at school action plus.

Occupational Therapy

020 8924 6111

The Occupational Therapy Team are now based at Redbridge Child Development Centre (0 -19yrs), previously known as The Kenwood Centre in Barkingside.

Little Heath Outreach Service

020 8599 4864
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Support can be provided for students with:

  • language and communication difficulties including Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Asperger’s Syndrome;
  • specific learning difficulties;
  • general learning difficulties.
  • specific language difficulties;