First, we wish to express our deep appreciation to Dr. Ursula Bellugi for sharing with us her knowledge and insights about Williams syndrome, providing us the opportunity to interact with many Williams syndrome children and adults, and for encouraging and inspiring us to write this book.
We also want to recognize the valuable contributions of many individuals with Williams syndrome and their devoted families and teachers in revealing to us their experiences, difficulties, and triumphs.
We thank the Williams Syndrome Association for its pivotal role in providing leadership, information, resources, and support for individuals with Williams syndrome and all those closely involved with them, including parents, teachers, professionals, and researchers.
We would also like to thank those parents who kindly granted permission for us to include photographs of their Williams syndrome children in the cover design of our book. We are especially grateful to Professor Howard Lenhoff for having allowed us to reproduce pictures from the photo album on the Web site of the Williams Syndrome Foundation.
We also wish to recognize the significant contribution of our dedicated editors at Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Susan Milmoe, Sondra Guideman, and Art Lizza, in the development, production, and publication of this book.
In addition, Dr. Semel would like to personally express her gratitude to the Williams Syndrome Association for the valuable experience she gained while serving as their National Education Director and for supporting her efforts in making the ground-breaking video, “ Jenny, ” a story about a child diagnosed with Williams syndrome. During this period, she was able to establish the Williams Syndrome Hotline and wants to extend her appreciation to the many anonymous callers who consulted her over the years on the Williams Syndrome Hotline. They confided their problems, tried out her suggestions, and let her know when they worked and when they did not.
Finally, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the patience and loyalty of our many friends, children, grandchildren, and other family members who stood by us and understood when we were not able to be with them because we were so involved in writing this book. We are very pleased they are welcoming us back now that the book is finally finished.