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development throughout their life. It occurs sporadically in 1 in 20,000 births and affects both sexes equally, though male cases are more severe due to only having one X chromosome. The disorder is caused by a deletion of multiple genes, specifically the elastin gene, on one copy of chromosome 7 (teacher ed pdf.) Though there is no increased risk for siblings of a child with William’s syndrome to be born with the same disorder, an individual with the condition has a 50% chance of passing it on to their child. (teacher pdf) The disorder is primarily diagnosed during infancy and symptoms such as low birth weight, failure to thrive, vomiting after eating, colic, hypersensitivity to sound and low muscle tone are often early warning signs. (Gordon, 2005) Other symptoms that may not be present in the first months of life include episodes of bronchial obstruction, microcephaly, hyperactivity, and inguinal hernias. A positive blood test for hyperkalemia, which is characterized by excessively high amounts of calcium in the blood, is often the first clinically observed sign that signifies a likelihood of a child having the disorder. Initial clinical diagnosis focuses on other common characteristics of the condition, including cardiovascular disease, particularly aortic or pulmonary stenosis, kidney abnormalities and developmental delays and learning disabilities. There are also facial features specific to the disorder, including a small upturned nose, wide mouth, long upper lip, a small chin and widely spaced or missing teeth. (Utah.edu) Other common signs include short stature, limited joint mobility, diabetes, curvature of the spine, and star shaped irises. The condition is clinically
org) Children with WS who are also affected by hyperkalemia are often put on a low calcium and vitamin D diet to counteract the body’s inability to absorb calcium adequately. coordination.confirmed through a Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) test. it is a positive confirmation of the condition. and motor milestones in particular. motor and visual perceptual skills. (nih. Children with the condition often converse with adults and mimic their . (WS. occur much later than typically developing peers. Other common health concerns include endocrine and connective tissue abnormalities. which can cause contractures later in life if not appropriately treated. and mild to severe dental abnormalities. While many children with Williams Syndrome may be observed to have impeccable social skills and language abilities. (jarid) Young children with Williams Syndrome commonly exhibit delays in their cognitive and motor development. these skills are found to only be at a superficial level. (WS Diagnosing) The most significant medical issue associated with WS is cardiovascular disease due to narrowed arteries from the lack of elastin protein required to form smooth muscle within the body. social skills. when carefully evaluated. Children also commonly have low muscle tone and laxivity of joints.gov) The severity of this condition varies from minimal to severe and sometimes requires multiple surgical procedures. which looks at the number of elastin genes present on the number seven X chromosome. renal difficulties. If an individual only has one copy of the elastin gene. such as walking and toilet training. Regular monitoring of cardiac status is vital due to an increased risk of high blood pressure and potential narrowing of the blood vessels. Children with WS also exhibit varying degrees of deficits in areas of balance.
will reduce the stress students with WS feel during interactions with their peers. . Due to the disorder often being coupled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Due to these children’s unique requirements for academic success. Individuals with WS are motivated by their intense desire to please others. but instead repeating in an attempt to be social. Role playing scenarios. children usually benefit from seating that is close enough to the board to assure they can see. it makes socialization with others difficult as they lack the ability to recognize and interpret non verbal language. A desk corral may be used if a child finds the environmental noise upsetting or distracting. This can become difficult in a classroom setting where a teacher may misunderstand a child’s abilities based on what they quickly observe. the set up of a classroom can have a major effect on the ability of a child with WS to attend and concentrate during the school day. etc. such as times when students will invite others to play during recess or to sit with them at lunch. and while their excessive friendliness can be beneficial during treatment. and form an opinion that the child is simply not paying attention or isn’t motivated to learn.phrases or wording. which is a signal that they are not truly comprehending the language. and children with anxiety and hypersensitivity to noise should be moved away from electric pencil sharpeners. This can be improved by role playing with the student so that they can learn how people appropriately communicate with each other. but also close enough to be able to interact with peers and obtain manipulatives and tools throughout the classroom. the classroom speaker. Role playing aloud also allows the child to internalize the phrases used so that they may be recalled and implemented during real life situations.
If worksheets are unable to be simplified. Worksheets with one or two problems on a page are ideal for children with WS as they allow the child to focus without becoming distracted or overwhelmed by the amount of information they are required to look at. . Not only will this allow for necessary input for the child but will allow the student to engage with his classmates in an informal way.Fine and gross motor skills can be particularly delayed in a child with WS and need to be addressed prior to trying to learn advanced skills in a school setting. Also. children with Williams should be allowed to get up and move throughout the day. proprioceptive and vestibular input prior to beginning an academic activity will allow the child to remain calm for the duration of the required task. whether that involve handing out papers to classmates. Sequence. This will assist in improving the social skills necessary for forming and sustaining relationships with his peers. passing out books or erasing the board after a lecture. a piece of paper over half of the page can also be used to make the amount of information seem more manageable to the student. discrimination. Due to the ADHD that is often coupled with this syndrome. and tracing skills should be practiced repeatedly prior to beginning more advanced skills like reading and handwriting. If items like a trampoline or swing are not available within the classroom. a weighted blanket across the child’s lap or bean bags draped over the students shoulders will allow some input without being distracting to the rest of the classmates. which is another known deficit for children with this disorder. Gross motor skills should be addressed through the use of physical activity prior to beginning an activity which requires the child to remain still for an extended period of time.
Reading comprehension is often an ability that is extremely delayed in children with William’s Syndrome. particularly in teaching children to implement verbal self direction techniques. often hand over hand. Direct instruction should be utilized. particularly similar letters such as “b and d”. as is creating simple phrases during the actual letter formation. While flashcards can be utilized to allow the child to begin recognizing simple sight words. It is also the ability to understand abstract concepts and often transfer concepts from parts to a whole. Visual aids adhered to the desk to serve as cues for the student is helpful. reading comprehension involves the perceptual ability to recognize a word’s meaning both alone and in a group of words. gives the child strategies that will allow them to recall the information again in the future. Utilizing the student’s ability to remember auditory directions by implementing short songs about how to form a letter is helpful for the student to recall later during self directed strategies. Demonstrating skills in simple steps. Mathematical concepts are based on abstract ideas and the ability to utilize visual memory to come to a logical conclusion. The manipulative tools used would depend on the student’s fine motor abilities and whether certain objects held their attention or caused the . and therefore which way letters face. Students with this syndrome often require use of visual aids as they have difficulty remembering left from right. Handwriting is also often difficult for children with Williams Syndrome as the basis for this skill is the understanding of spatial concepts. blocks and beads. and then allowing the child to practice the skill independently while verbalizing the steps aloud. These skills can be solidified using manipulatives such as rods. geometric shapes.
For orienting the student to day and time. having the student dictate a log of what they do at certain times of day would allow them over time to realize that certain activities occur in the morning. For geometric understanding.student to be distracted. . This would also cross over into sequencing skills that are required for more advanced skills in mathematics. it would be beneficial to create a desk calendar that could be implemented into their therapy sessions. sides and faces of the shape. Furthermore. students would benefit from using three dimensional images to locate angles. Tracing the shape would also be beneficial to solidify the concept that three dimensional can be transferred to a flat drawing on paper. afternoon and evening.
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