Adolescents With Klinefelter Syndrome
Adolescence and the high school years can be difficult for boys with Klinefelter syndrome and their families, particularly in neighborhoods and schools where the emphasis is on athletic ability and physical prowess.
Lack of strength and agility, combined with a history of learning disabilities, may damage self-esteem. Unsympathetic peers, too, sometimes may make matters worse through teasing or ridicule.
Many kids have a tough time during adolescence, but a higher proportion of boys with Klinefelter syndrome have an even tougher time. High school is very competitive, and these kids are not very good competitors, in general. However, while males with Klinefelter syndrome share many characteristics, they cannot be pigeonholed into rigid categories.
Damage to self-esteem may be more severe in teenagers with Klinefelter syndrome who are diagnosed in early or late adolescence. Teachers -- and even parents -- may have dismissed their scholastic difficulties as laziness. Lack of athletic prowess and the inability to use language properly in social settings may have helped to isolate them from their peers. Some may react by sliding quietly into depression and withdrawing from contact with other people. Others may find acceptance in a dangerous crowd.
For these reasons, males diagnosed with Klinefelter syndrome as teenagers may need psychological counseling, as well as help in overcoming their learning disabilities. Help with learning disabilities is available through public school systems for males with Klinefelter syndrome who are high-school age and under. Referrals to qualified mental health specialists may be obtained from family physicians.
Most adolescents with Klinefelter syndrome benefit from receiving an injection of testosterone every 2 weeks, beginning at puberty. The hormone increases strength and brings on a more muscular, masculine appearance.
(Click Treatments for Klinefelter Syndrome for more information.)