Williams Syndrome: An Overview

Williams Syndrome, abbreviated as WS, is a rare genetic disorder that has an effect on many parts of the body. Individuals with the disorder often experience medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal difficulties and kidney issues. Developmental delays and learning challenges are also associated with Williams Syndrome. This disorder effects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide.

Williams syndrome is caused by the spontaneous deletion of roughly 26 to 28 genes from a specific region of chromosome 7. The deletion occurs randomly during the production of a sperm or egg and is not hereditary.

Symptoms and Characteristics of Williams Syndrome

Aside from distinct facial features,  some common medical symptoms are charactersitic to the syndrome, neurological and behavioral characteristics.

People with Williams Syndrome often have difficulty with visual-spatial tasks such as putting together puzzles and drawing, but usually do well on tasks that involve music and learning by rote memorization (repetition).

Individuals with Williams Syndrome are often very outgoing and tend to be prone to deficit disorder (ADD), problems with anxiety and phobias.

A visual representation of the characteristics related to Williams Syndrome
Image by Arcadia University via Erica Bruner

More symptoms of Williams Syndrome include:

  • Characteristic Facial Appearance – small upturned nose, long philtrum, wide mouth, full lips, small chin and puffiness around the eyes.
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Low Birth-Weight/Slow Weight Gain
  • Heart and Blood Vessel Problems
  • Feeding Difficulty as Infant
  • Irritability (Colic during infancy)
  • Dental Abnormalities
  • Kidney Abnormalities
  • Hernias
  • Sensitive Hearing
  • Musculoskeletal Problems
  • Excessively Social Personality
  • Developmental delay, learning challenges and attention deficit disorder

For more information on symptoms, please click here.

How ACT Helps Those with Williams Syndrome

Achievement Center of Texas’ Williams Syndrome Center is aimed towards helping individuals with the disorder reach their full potential with services curated to meet their unique needs. The center’s arts exploration program, offers a constructive environment for individuals to embrace their musical affinity and socialize.