Williams Syndrome Awareness Month

Date: May 1- May 30, 2022

May is Williams Syndrome Awareness Month.

What is Williams Syndrome?

Williams Syndrome also known as Williams-Beuren syndrome was discovered in 1961 by J.C.P. Williams, a Cardiologist from New Zealand. Williams Syndrome is a rare disorder with a prevalence of in 7,500 to 20,000 caused by the deletion of genetic material from chromosome 7. Williams syndrome symptoms include heart problems, low birth weight, l problems and developmental delays. 75 are diagnosed with mile to moderate intellectual disabilities or a learning disability.

Facts and Statistics
  • It is a genetic condition that is present a birth.
  • It is a developmental disorder
  • Tend to have a mild or moderate intellectual disability.
  • It is also known as Beuren Syndrome and Williams-Beuren Syndrome.
  • The symptoms were first described by John C.P. Williams in 1961.
  • A year later, German Physician, A.J. Beuren described three new incidents of patients with similar facial features.
  • It is caused by the spontaneous deletion of 26-28 genes on Chromosome #7
  • The deletion is caused by either the sperm or the egg.
  • The deletion is present at the time of conception
  • The most common symptoms of Williams Syndrome includes unusual facial features and heart defects.
  • The diagnosis is typically confirmed after identifying facial features and genetic testing.
  • An individual with Williams Syndrome has a 50% chance of passing the disorder on to their children.
  • Williams Syndrome affects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide.
  • An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States are affected.
  • It occurs in both males and females equally
  • It is found in every culture
  • Individuals with Williams Syndrome tend to be overly friendly.
  • People with Williams Syndrome often have difficulty with visual-spatial tasks
  • Congenital heart defects (CHD) occur in approximately 75 percent of children
  • By the age of 30, the majority of individuals with Williams Syndrome have pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Physical characteristics include:

Musculoskeletal

Almond shape eyes

Broad forehead

long neck

Longer upper lip

Puffiness around the eyes

sloping shoulders

Small chin

Small upturned nose

Wide mouth

Learning Characteristics

During Williams Syndrome Awareness Month, You can create a fundraising page or team

Download awareness event planning tools

purchase an awareness t-shirt

For more information: Awareness Month | Williams Syndrome Association (williams-syndrome.org)

Autism Acceptance Month

Date: April 1- April 30, 2022

What is a Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social, speech, behavioral and motor skills. It is a spectrum disorder meaning it varies from person to person. No two people have the same symptoms. It is estimated that 1% of the population is diagnosed with autism.

Prevalence

About 1 in 40 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

1 in 42 boys are diagnosed with autism

1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism

100 individuals are diagnosed everyday

ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

ASD is 4 times more common among boys than girls.

Studies in Asia, Europe, and North American have idendified individuals with ASD  with an average prevalence of between 1% and 2%.

About 1 in 6 children diagnosed with autism also have a developmental disability.

Parents who have a child with ASD have a 2%-18% chance of having a second child diagnosed with autism

Almost half (44%) of children diagnosed with ASD has average to above average intellectual ability.

ASD commonly co-occurs with other developmental, psychiatric, neurological, chromosomal and genetic diagnoses.

Stimming

  • It is also prevalent among people on the autism spectrum.
  • In fact in many cases, it is part of the diagnosis due to the repetition of stimming.
  • Stimming is often used as a means to self-regulate, self-calm and for self-expression.
  • The movements are repetitive and are used to self-stimulate the 7 senses.
  • It is often described as a repetitive motor behavior that can disrupt academic and social and other activities.
  • One of the theories behind stimming is that beta-endorphrins are released in the brain casuing an euphoric feeling which is generally a response to pain.
  • Stimming behavior. based for self-soothing and to help a child or an adult regain emotional balance.
  • Sensory Overload. Too much sensory information can lead to stress, anxiety and eventually a meltdown.

Wandering Statistics

  • Nearly half of children with autism engage in wandering behavior
  • Increased risks are associated with autism severity
  • More than one third of children with autism who wander/elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number
  • Half of families report they have never received advice or guidance about elopement from a professional
  • Accidental drowning accounts for 71% of lethal outcomes, followed by traffic injuries at 18%
  • Other dangers include dehydration; heat stroke; hypothermia; falls; physical restraint; encounters with strangers
  • Accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with autism due to wandering.

 

Resources

Download Factsheet

Autism and Visual Impairment

Epilepsy and Autism

Self-Regulation and Autism

World Asthma Day

Date May 5, 2022

World Asthma Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma is held each May to raise awareness of asthma worldwide.

World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that asthma is of major public health importance. According to WHO, it is estimated that more than 339 million people had asthma globally and there were 417,918 deaths due to asthma at the global level.

Asthma Facts

  • Each child reacts differently to the factors that may trigger asthma
  • There is no cure for asthma but can be managed with proper prevention pf asthma attacks an treatment
  • More Americans than ever before have asthma. It is one of the country’s most common and costly diseases.
  • Asthma is more common in boys than girls.
  • It is the leading chronic disease in children
  • Asthma is more common in adult women than adult men
  • African Americans are five times more likely than white Americans to visit the emergency department
  • On the average, ten Americans die from asthma each day
  • When a child has asthma, their lungs are extra sensitive to certain stimuli or “triggers” which range from viral infections to allergies

Purple Day for Epilepsy

Date: March 26, 2022

March 26 is Purple Day is an international grassroots efforts dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. People om countries around the world wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder which causes seizures through electrical impulses occurring in the brain. It is the fourth most common neurological disorder. Epilepsy affects 50 million people worldwide. In the U.S., 1 out of 26 people are affected.

A person is considered to have epilepsy if they meet any of the following conditions:

  1. At least two unprovoked seizures occurring greater than 24 hours apart.
  2. One unprovoked seizure and after two unprovoked seizures occurring over the next 10 years.
  3. Diagnosis of an epilepsy syndrome.
Seizures

A seizure is caused by a burst of abnormal activity in the brain. With a seizure, a person has change in awareness, behavior, body movement or sensation. A seizure can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Seizures can take on many different forms and affect people in different ways.

Auras

Auras are often describes as a warning before the occurrence of a seizure. Not everyone experiences an aura. Some have described it as a change in feeling, sensation, thought or behaviors. this may include:

  • An overpowering smell.
  • Nausea or indigestion.
  • A rising/sinking feeling in the stomach.
  • a sleepy/dreamy feeling.
Types of Seizures

Generalized Tonic Clonic Seizures. Involves the entire brain. May also be referred to as a grand mal seizure. This occurs when abnormal electrical activity affects all or most of the brain. often the body will stiffen and then the person will lose consciousness and then the body will shake due to uncontrollable muscle contractions.

Absence Seizure– A brief loss of consciousness or awareness. It generally last only seconds and mainly occurs in children. Signs may include a blank stare, lip smacking and repeated blinking, chewing or hand movement.

Focal Seizures– The burst of electrical activity is contain in one part of the brain. In a simple focal seizure, you may have muscular jerks or strange sensations in one arm or leg. The person does not lose consciousness or awareness.

Causes
  • brain trauma
  • genetics
  • stroke
  • tumors
  • brain infections
  • head injury.
Risk Factors
  • Babies who are born small for their age
  • Babies who have seizures in the first month of life
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Conditions with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Family history of epilepsy (febrile)

Prevalence:

  • More people live with epilepsy than autism, spectrum disorders, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy combined.
  • You can’t swallow your tongue during a seizure. It is physically impossible.
  • You should never force something into the mouth of someone having a seizure.
  • Don’t restrain someone having a seizure.
  • Epilepsy is not contagious .
  • Anyone can develop epilepsy.
  • Epilepsy is not rare.
  • 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime.4An estimated 3 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide live with epilepsy.
  • In 2/3 of patients diagnosed with epilepsy, the cause is unknown.
  • Up to 50,000 deaths occur annually in the U.S. from status epilepticus (prolonged seizures). (SUDEP) and other seizure-related causes such as drowning and other accidents.
  • SUDEP accounts for 34% of all sudden deaths in children.
  • Epilepsy costs the U.S. approximately 15.5 billion each year.
  • A seizure is a transient disruption of brain function due to abnormal and excessive electrical discharges in brain cells.
  • Epilepsy is a disease of the brain that predisposes a person to excessive electrical discharges in the brain cell.
  • It is diagnosed when 2 or more unprovoked seizures have occurred.
  • It must be at least 2 unprovoked seizures more than 24 hours apart.
  • About 14% have simple partial seizures.
  • 36% have complex partial seizures.
  • 5% have tonic-clonic seizures.
  • Seizures can be caused by head trauma, stokes, brain tumor and a brain infection.
  • Causes are unknown in 60 to 70% of cases.
  • The prevalence is 1% of the U.S. population.
  • Approximately 2.2 to 3 million in the U.S. have seizures.
  • It affects all ages, socioeconomic and racial groups.
  • Incidents are higher in children and older adults.
  • Seizures can range from momentarily blanks to loss of awareness
  • Almost 150,000 people in the U.S. develop epilepsy every year.
  • No gender is likely to develop than others.
  • 1/3 of individuals with autism spectrum disorders also have epilepsy.
  • The prevalence of epilepsy in people with an intellectual disability is higher than the general population.

Website: Purple Day – Supporting Epilepsy Around The World!

Resources

Epilepsy and Autism: What You Need To Know – Special Needs Resource and Training Blog

Intellectual Disabilities And Epilepsy – Special Needs Resource and Training Blog

 

Trisomy Awareness Month

Date: March 1- March 31, 2022

March is Trisomy Awareness Month.

Prevalence:

  • There are three types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21 (nondisjunction) accounts for 95% of cases, translocation accounts for about 4%, and mosaicism accounts for about 1%
  • Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. Approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome – about 6,000 each year
  • Down syndrome occurs in people of all races and economic levels
  • The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age
  • People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives
  • A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are: low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm. Every person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all
  • Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 in 1983 to 60 today
  • People with Down syndrome attend school, work, participate in decisions that affect them, have meaningful relationships, vote and contribute to society in many wonderful ways
  • All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses

The incidence of Down syndrome is between I in 1000 to 1 in 1,100 live birth worldwide.

  • Each year, approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children are born with Down syndrome.
  • 60-80% of children with Down syndrome having hearing issues
  • 40-45% of children with Down syndrome have congenital heart disease
Life Expectancy
  • The life expectancy increased slowly from 1900 to 1960 (by 89%) but rapidly grew from 1960 to 2007 (456%)
Life Expectancy by Race
  • Whites with Down syndrome in the United States had a median death at the age of 50 in 1997 compared to 25 years for African Americans and 11 for people of other races

Resources

10 Important Facts On Trisomy 18

Down Syndrome Timeline

Mosaic Down Syndrome