CHARGE syndrome is a recognizable genetic syndrome with known pattern of features. It is an extremely complex syndrome, involving extensive medical and physical difficulties that differ from child to child. Babies with CHARGE syndrome are often born with life-threatening birth defects. They spend many months in the hospital and undergo many surgeries and other treatments. Swallowing and breathing problems make life difficult even when they come home. Most have hearing loss, vision loss, and balance problems that delay their development and communication. Despite these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, children with CHARGE syndrome often far surpass their medical, physical, educational, and social expectations.
Continued research is needed to help us understand the medical and developmental challenges facing individuals with CHARGE. This understanding leads the way to medical and educational interventions and therapies which help people with CHARGE syndrome overcome many of the obstacles in their lives.
One of the hidden features of CHARGE syndrome is the determination and strong character these children display.
History of the name “CHARGE”
The name “CHARGE” was a clever way (in 1981) to refer to a newly recognized cluster of features seen in a number of children. Over the years, it has become clear that CHARGE is indeed a syndrome and at least one gene causing CHARGE syndrome has been discovered. The letters in CHARGE stand for: Coloboma of the eye, Heart defects, Atresia of the choanae, Retardation of growth and development, and Ear abnormalities and deafness. Those features are no longer used in making a diagnosis of CHARGE syndrome, but we’re not changing the name.