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All about neurofibromatosis type 2

Neurofibromatosis Type 2 Awareness Day

A red cartoon drawing of a brain over a white background.

What is neurofibromatosis type 2? 

Neurofibromatosis type II, or NF2, is a rare genetic disorder that causes the growth of multiple non-cancerous tumors along the central and peripheral nervous system. The disorder is one of the three types of neurofibromatosis, which includes neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and schwannomatosis. The growth of tumors on both sides (bilateral) is what differentiates NF2 from other types of neurofibromatosis. 

Causes

NF2 is caused by a genetic mutation on the 22nd chromosome. The disorder is autosomal dominant, meaning that it can be passed down to a child if one parent is a carrier of the abnormality. Although NF2 can be inherited, it can also occur spontaneously in children who do not have parents that carry the gene. 

Symptoms

NF2 may cause auditory (relating to hearing) and non-auditory symptoms, and the presentation of symptoms may vary across individuals with the disorder. 

Symptoms of NF2:

  • Gradual hearing loss over time or sudden sensorineural hearing loss
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Visual impairment or vision loss
  • Clouding of the lens of the eyes (cataracts)
  • Facial palsy
  • Seizures 
  • Numbness of limbs

Education of students with NF2

NF2 may impact a student’s ability to access classroom activities and curriculum. This impact may be due to developmental delays as well as vision and hearing loss. In cases where a student’s vision and hearing are impacted by NF2, strategies used for students diagnosed with deafblindness should be implemented in the classroom. These strategies include:

  • Consistent physical environment (i.e. not rearranging the classroom every week)
  • Limiting auditory and visual clutter
  • Predictability and consistency 
  • Routine-based learning
  • Use of touch cues (when appropriate)
  • Adapting materials to be accessible (i.e. enlarging print, adding tactile cues, the use of amplification, etc.)
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