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Tay-Sachs, Canavan, GM1 and Sandhoff diseases

What to Expect with Canavan

Early Childhood

Some children with Canavan show signs at birth but most first present symptoms of slowed development and muscle weakness during the first year of life. Some children start to have seizures around age three but others do not.

During early childhood children experience swallowing difficulties and excessive secretions. The decision of whether and when to place a feeding tube is challenging. Please see our Philosophy of Care section to help you know whether and when a feeding tube is right for your child and your family.

Living with the Disease

Generally new symptoms to do not appear in later childhood but respiratory health and seizure management become more complicated and challenging.

Children with Canavan often live to be teenagers and young adults. Puberty may change symptoms and how they are managed. Girls sometimes experience premature puberty. Talk to your doctor about medications to delay puberty or use of birth control pills to reduce frequency of menstrual cycles.