Welcome to the Floating Harbor Support Group web page! We have over 50 member families from 12 different countries, all with children who have Floating Harbor Syndrome. For more pictures of children and adults with Floating Harbor Syndrome click on the "Services" tab on the upper left part of the page. For more about the group go to the "About Us" tab above.
Floating Harbor Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that was named for the first two identified patients who were seen at Boston Floating Hospital and Harbor General Hospital in California. While a more extensive list can be found below, the main characteristics of this syndrome are:
*delayed bone growth
*delay in expressive language
P.O. Box 774
Terre Hill, PA 17581 USA
Scientists in Canada have discovered the gene mutation that causes FHS and a blood test is available. Please contact us for more information. The lastest issue of "Safe Harbor" is available online. Click on "Services" above to access the file, or contact us via email.
*Short Stature (very low percentiles, off the charts eventually)
*Delayed Bone Growth (in a bone age x-ray for instance, a 7 year old could have the bone age of a 3 year old)
*Delay in Expressive Language (understands, but has trouble speaking, 18 month olds usually only say 2-5 words like "mama, dada, baba" etc.)
*Distinct facial features (apparent by 3-4 years of age, broad nose, wide mouth, thin lips, deep set eyes and small, triangular-shaped face for more pictures of FHS children click on the "SERVICES" tab)
*Intolerance to the sun/bright lights
*low birth weight (below the 3rd percentile)
*prenatal growth retardation
*odd and hyperkinetic behavior
*clubbed ends of fingers
*excessive body hair
*delayed learning ability
*Celiac sprue (gluten intolerance)
*sacral dimple (additional dimple around the tail bone area)
*pulmonary stenosis (narrowing of a ventricle)
*hypospadius (low-placed opening at the end of penis)
*short or absent filtrum (space between nose and lip)
*small deepset nails/claws
*broad &/or flared nostrils
WHAT TO DO NOW
1. If you do not already have a diagnosis from a geneticist it would be advised that you see one to get a definite diagnosis. As there is no "treatment" per se for Floating Harbor Syndrome, it is not wise to assume that this is what your child has and miss any treatment for another disorder that your child may truly have.
2. The only real "treatment" is to fix the symptoms if warranted. For instance, if your child has dental problems or cataracts you could have those things surgically corrected.
3. The use of sign language has greatly helped some parents whose children have Floating Harbor Syndrome. Several simple, inexpensive books are available at the book store or library. Just begin by looking up words while you are eating or playing, for instance "cereal" or "truck". By adding words slowly your child's vocabulary will grow, and it is a great joy to be able to finally communicate with your child. OR, cut out magazine pictures of children sleeping, eating, playing, drinking, etc. and glue them to cardboard for your child to point to what he or she wants.
4. Speech therapy has helped when the children are over three years old. Tutoring in reading or other subjects helpful when school-age. (See #9 for more information on this topic.)
5. Use of hat and dark sunglasses when in the car or going outside for those who are sensitive to sunlight.
6. Make sure your child is getting as many calories as possible (a snack at night is helpful) , lots of good nutrious foods and vitamins, and plenty of rest.
7. Let your child know everthing that is going to happen and when it will happen ahead of time. Most FHS children do NOT like when plans or things change and they aren't informed about it ahead of time.
8. Keep a good bedtime routine and make sure they get enough sleep. Try running a fan on low for background noise and try to keep things low-key (nothing to interest them) around the house for about an hour after they go to bed. If they do stay up late and are cranky, naps work wonders the next day.
9. Request the FHS Support Group's packet for teachers, educators and therapists. Pass them on to anyone who assists your child.
10. Contact the Floating Harbor Support Group for more information, pictures of kids with Floating Harbor and medical articles regarding this syndrome.