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Doctor Chip
Doctor Chip, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
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Experience:  20 yrs practice, surgery, general medicine, addiction medicine, pain
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My husband has a learning disability. Never diagnosed but

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My husband has a learning disability. Never diagnosed but he has comprehension difficulties, often repeats what he says ,has very poor maths skills. He is a second born fraternal twin. I dont know whether this is inherited or whether maybe the fact that he is a twin has something to do with it? His twin also had problems but not as severe. All other members of the family are very intelligent. We are thinking of having a child and I am naturally concerned. I have a degree and am regarded as ntelligent. In order to avoid the possibility of our child inheriting my husbands learning disability would it be better for us to have a boy or a girl? And do you think that his problem was inherited or is down to the fact that he was a multiple.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Doctor Chip replied 3 years ago.
So no professional has ever commented on what his problem may be? Any problem like this in any of his blood relatives?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Not that I know of. When you are talking to him sometimes you have to reword things for him so that he understands. I know that some people think he is 'slow' and I can see why. He has a habit of repeating himself. He was weak at school and went for extra tuition in english language and his maths in particular is very poor. His twin sister has a similar problem but he has two other sisters who are very bright. I have tried to spot if there is anything in his father or mothers family of a similar nature but they all seem to be fine.
Expert:  Doctor Chip replied 3 years ago.
Well, although some learning diabilities run in families and boys have them more often than girls, except for obvious impairment in IQ most other problems have no specific cause, and certainly there is no substantial evidence that they are inherited or genetic. A good many of these problems may have more environmental than genetic causes, but then some children just have a problem when there's been nothing unusual in their family life. If you were to play the odds, you could say that a daughter from the two of you would have less chance for a learning disability than a son, but, if it were me in your place, I wouldn't be concerned about this.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Why do you think a daughter would have less chance of inheriting it? Am I right in saying that girls inherit more from their fathers and boys inherit more from their mothers? This is what I have always thought but I would be glad with your insight. This is a huge concern for me. I love my husband dearly and would love to have a child with him but I do not want that child to suffer from a learning disability. Do you think that it might have had something to do with something that happened during his birth?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Further information: I would say that he has IQ impairment.
Expert:  Doctor Chip replied 3 years ago.
I was only saying that statistically boys have learning disorders more than girls but, again, there isn't any good evidence that the problem is inherited, much less being able to say from which parent. As far as the inheritance pattern for children, both boys and girls get almost exactly half their genome from each parent with the exception of the Y chromosome from the father which produces male offspring. If this were a congenital problem, then it would have nothing to do with his genes. I honestly think you are--understandably--over concerned about this, but if it still worries you, talk with a genetics counselor, although I think he'd say the same as I.
Expert:  Doctor Chip replied 3 years ago.
Anything else I haven't covered?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your answers so far. Sometimes I am so used of him that I take no notice but then I watch other people when they talk to them and I know that they think he is 'slow'. In fact someone has said it to me. This was not very nice and really upset me and got me thinking. He is the nicest and sweetest person and very caring but it does worry me. I was very upset when that person said to me he couldnt understand how an educated person like me would have married someone like him. Now I know that a comment like that says more about the person who said it than my husband but it has got me thinking and I certainly dont want a child of mine to be the subject of ridicule as my husband often was in school. Is there a possibility with him being the second born twin that it could be the result of him getting less oxygen at birth or is that something that happens?

Expert:  Doctor Chip replied 3 years ago.
That definitely is a possibilty, just as cerebral palsy is somewhat due to hypoxia at birth. I fully understand your take on what that boob said about him. I would have told them to get a life and to search for the true meaning of love which had obviously passed them by in their life experience. As an aside, if you haven't seen the Harrison Ford movie "Regarding Henry" I highly recommend it as it deals with exactly the social problem you encountered. If we still need to go on here, just let me know.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you Dr Chip. This has been something that has been on my mind for ever so long really but especially lately. Is there anything I could do in pregnancy that would better the possibility that the child would be born without brain problems or something that would help develop a higher IQ? Also, just say it were an inherited thing that fact that there are no similar problems in the childs mother do you think that this would cancel it out?
Expert:  Doctor Chip replied 3 years ago.
Well, inheritance depends on whether a gene were dominant or recessive. If recessive, both parents would have to have it and the mother could have only one recessive gene in the pairing and not exhibit the problem herself. The major problem I have here is that we really don't have a firm diagnosis of what is wrong with him. As far as what to do with pregnancy, well balanced diet, vitamins, no alcohol or tobacco, and, some would say, playing Mozart loudly enough for the fetus to hear are the main factors.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry I do not understand what you mean by 'the mother could have only one recessive gene in the pairing and not exhibit the problem herself'. Could you clarify please?

 

What if the gene were dominant? What does that mean?

 

Yes I do not have concrete diagnosis of what is wrong with him. I do know that he had to go to speech therapy when he was young as he was very late starting to speak.

 

 

Expert:  Doctor Chip replied 3 years ago.
Example--sickel cell anemia is a recessive disorder. Every chromosome has pairing of genes and only if both of the pair is recessive does the person have SSA. A person could have one normal dominant gene and one recessive and not have the disorder but if the recessive gene were to pair up with a recessive gene from the other parent, the child would have SSA. If something is carried by a dominant gene then it would only take one parent with that gene to pass the same trait onto all his or her offspring.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you. Lets say whatever he is wrong with him is genetic. Do you think it is more likely to be recessive rather than dominant? Am I right in saying that if were recessive the child couldnt get it since the mother has it and the father doesnt. And if it were dominant there is a possibility that the child might have it. I'm sure you may think that these questions are slightly odd but to me this is very important and has been a source of worry for me for quite a while. I find your answers very helpful. Have you any thoughts on the fact that he had to get speech therapy when he was young to get him to talk?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I meant that the mother doesnt have it and the father does!!
Expert:  Doctor Chip replied 3 years ago.
Again, if the mother and father were carriers of the recessive gene--not exhibiting the disorder themselves, but each having a dominant and a recessive gene--then statistically one in four of their children would have the disorder. If one parent only had two dominant genes, then none of their offspring would have the disorder. As for the speech therapy, that sounds like it was for something that was a problem that developed after birth and not from a genetic source.
Doctor Chip, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 23434
Experience: 20 yrs practice, surgery, general medicine, addiction medicine, pain
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much. You really dont know how much it means to me and I have stressed so much about this. Much appreciated.

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