This week is Williams Syndrome Awareness Week. Williams Syndrome is a genetic condition that can affect a variety of physical and cognitive factors throughout a person’s development—childhood through adulthood. Individuals with Williams Syndrome are often friendly, personable, and children with the syndrome are said to bring a unique perspective to their families and people around them .
However, people with Williams Syndrome often experience a variety of medical and developmental problems, including heart conditions, speech and movement issues, and developing skills to perform everyday activities necessary for independent living, and may require supportive accommodations when living with the support of their parents is no longer reasonable . In addition to heart problems, individuals with Williams Syndrome might also have blood vessel problems—such as narrowing of the arteries from the lungs. Risk of decrease in heart function or high blood pressure mean that regular physical examinations by a doctor are crucial in maintaining health in individuals with Williams Syndrome. Additionally, a medical identification bracelet or necklace can be worn by an individual with Williams Syndrome to alert emergency caregivers to their needs, and to any underlying cardiac conditions that may be present. Those with Williams Syndrome may also have a higher incidence of kidney problems, hernias, feeding problems and elevated blood calcium levels . Each coexisting condition that a child or adult with Williams Syndrome experiences makes it of increasing importance to wear identification jewelry.
People with Williams Syndrome also can experience mild to moderate intellectual disability, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] and anxiety. Lifelong supportive care for both physical, emotional, and cognitive aspects of the syndrome are important to ensure a high quality of life for individuals of all ages with Williams Syndrome .
Do you know anybody living with or caring for a person with William’s Syndrome? Share this post with them! We’d love to hear their stories in the comments section!