What is Williams syndrome?
Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare, congenital disorder that comes with many physical and developmental problems. Scientists have learned that most people with WS are missing some genetic material (Elastin Gene) on chromosome 7. A blood test (called the FISH technique) can tell whether the Elastin Gene is missing. About 1 in 20,000 children are born with Williams syndrome.
To learn more about genetics and to better understand how genes cause syndromes, see YourChild: Genetic Syndromes.
People with WS tend to have:
- an impulsive and outgoing personality
- lack of coordination
- slight muscle weaknes
- heart defects
- intellectual disability
- attention deficit disorder (ADHD)
- hypercalcemia (elevated blood calcium levels)
- low birth weight
- slow weight gain
- feeding problems
- irritability during infancy
- dental and kidney abnormalities
- hyperacusia (sensitive hearing)
- muscle/bone problems.
- YourChild: Genetic Syndromes
- YourChild: Chronic Conditions
- YourChild: Developmental Delay
- YourChild: Siblings of Children with Special Needs
- YourChild: ADHD
- YourChild: Feeding your Baby and Toddler
- YourChild: Feeding your Child and Teen
- Williams Syndrome Information Page from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- Health Care Supervision of Children with Williams Syndrome is a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This is good information to share with your pediatrician.
- Information about medical genetics and genetic testing for WS—this is fairly academic information. You can register for free to get the full review.
- The Williams Syndrome Association
- The Williams Syndrome Foundation
- Williams Syndrome message group
- Williams Syndrome Email Listserve
Compiled by Kyla Boyse, RN. Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan.
Updated June 2008
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