Understanding Williams Syndrome: Behavioral Patterns and Interventions


In the last 20 years, Williams syndrome has captured the interest of large numbers of scientists and attracted considerable media attention in spite of its rarity (estimated at no more than one in 30,000 births). Those diagnosed display a unique pattern of behavioral, cognitive, and physical limitations and strengths with fascinating neurogenetic implications-a pattern that poses enormous challenges to their parents and caregivers. The authors, a specialist in learning disabilities and a developmental psychologist, review basic information about Williams syndrome, its medical conditions, paradoxical profile, and neurobiological mechanisms; and discuss distinctive features of the language and perceptual and motor performance of children and adults with the syndrome. Offering strategies for building on the first and dealing with the second, they describe typical aptitudes, such as social skills, curiosity, memory, and musicality; and behavioral problems, such as fears and anxieties, distractibility, impulsivity, poor adaptability, low frustration tolerance, and atypical activity. They examine differences between Williams syndrome and other developmental disorders, such as Down syndrome, Fragile X, Prader-Willi, ADHD, and autism, and similarities in its symptoms to those of anxiety disorder, simple phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. They organize their problem-specific alternatives for treatment into five major categories, and summarize important points about characteristics and interventions in numerous helpful tables. Finally, they consider promising new directions for research, clinical intervention, education, and systems for care delivery. Throughout, they stress variations among individuals and subgroups in ability level, skills, talents, and problem severity; and emphasize the necessity of recognizing these components in planning treatment on an individual basis. Comprehensive and readable, Understanding Williams Syndrome: Behavioral Patterns and Interventions is an essential guide for all those professionally, scientifically, or personally involved with this so frequently misunderstood and underserved population-psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other mental health professionals; special educators, and vocational counselors; speech-language, physical, and occupational therapists; audiologists; physicians; and parents.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Ursulla Bellugi
  • Eleanor Semel
  • Sue R. Rosner
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Mahwah, NJ
Publication year:
  • 2003


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