What is Williams syndrome?
Like Down's Syndrome it is caused by an abnormality in chromosomes, and shows a wide variation in ability from person to person. At a basic level, it's a genetic disorder that is present at birth & affects one in 20,000 newborns. The severity of the symptoms vary, but Williams children are remarkably social and very loving. The flip side is that in many cases the children have very severe cardio-vascular problems, problems gaining any weight, dental abnormalities and severe learning disabilities. Children and adults with Williams are often incapable of living independently.
Mike Hammond, our Deputy Director for Urgent Care has a niece, Bethany, who has the syndrome.
He said: “She’s a very loving young lady who has overcome a lot already with the support of her family and The Williams Syndrome Foundation. It's fair to say she can be described as "hard work", but you will not meet a more engaging and inquisitive child. One of the main characteristics of Williams children, teenagers and adults is that they have very expressive language.They are incredibly outgoing, polite and are often drawn to adult company. The down side of this is that they have no sense of social norms, personal space or the mood of others so sometimes this attention can be overwhelming. Bethany would be very interested in talking to strangers, discussing life in general or what she's up to, even giving them a hug! Not what you normally expect from someone you've never met!”
Williams Syndrome is a rare disorder. Williams People have a unique pattern of emotional, physical and mental strengths and weaknesses. It is a non-hereditary syndrome which occurs at random and can effect brain development in varying degrees, combined with some physical effects or physical problems. These range from lack of co-ordination, slight muscle weakness, possible heart defects and occasional kidney damage. Hypercalcaemia - a high calcium level - is often discovered in infancy, and normal development is generally delayed.
Learn more about Williams Syndrome at http://www.williams-syndrome.org.uk.