Williams Syndrome and Teaching Strategies

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.

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

  • ADHD
  • Enjoys music
  • Developmental delay
  • Excellent long-term memory
  • Learning disability
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Seizures
  • Tactile defensiveness

Teaching Strategies

Students with Mild intellectual disabilities will have difficulty with abstract thinking, executive functioning including planning, prioritizing, and cognitive flexibility. According to the Williams Syndrome Association Website, Children with Williams Syndrome face challenges with processing non-verbal information and displays difficulty with attention to detail.

Strategies should include:

  • Using short sentences
  • Repeat directions
  • Break task into small steps
  • Use concrete examples when introducing new words or concepts.
  • Teach one concept at a time
  • Use a multisensory approach which will help to stimulate learning
  • Utilize visual learning style including the use of flash cars, pictures, images, handouts and colors.

Reference

Williams Syndrome Association

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