Unfortunately, WSs often exhibit various kinds of behavior problems that affect their ability to function and live up to their potential. Unlike the problems described in previous chapters, the behavior problems of WSs are not usually offset by positive features. As one parent remarked, “It's like having a 4 year old child for 20 years [or more]. ”
The present chapter deals with six specific types of behavior problems. It also discusses four forms of behavior disorder and their relation to WS, including: (a) general behavior disturbance, (b) autism, (c) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and (d) emotional disorders.
Issues of intervention are addressed in the next chapter.
Although there are many ways in which the behavior problems of WSs can be classified, six problem areas tend to predominate in the reports of parents, teachers, clinicians, and researchers. These include fears and anxiety, distractibility and attentional problems, impulsivity, poor adaptability, low frustration tolerance, and atypical activity.
Other problems, such as compulsions, perseveration, aggression, and withdrawal, can be subsumed under these topics. Each of the six types of behavior problems is examined next.
Although some childhood fears and anxieties are part of normal development, those of WSc tend to be unusually pervasive, intense, and persistent,