Angelman syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system. Characteristics include developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, epilepsy, short attention span, hyperactivity, hand flapping and speech impairments. It is a rare disorder that affects 1 in 12,000 to 20,000 a year. there are less than 200,000 cases a year and affects all ethnicities and sexes equally.
Typically, there is a severe developmental delay and learning disability as well as near absence of speech and ataxia including ataxia including jerky movements of the arms and legs. People with Angelman syndrome generally have a happy demeanor and an inappropriate laughter.
Life expectancy appears to be normal. As people with Angelman syndrome age, scoliosis tends to worsen and for many people born with epilepsy, there are cases where seizures stop, however, they tend to return as the person gets older.
Due to cognitive and medical needs, a person with Angelman syndrome will always require support. Most people with Angelman syndrome attend a day habilitation setting. Support should include
- staff trained on identifying seizures and providing assistance
- programs that support the person’s short attention span
- evaluation for a communication device or a means to communicate
- support for self-injurious behavior
The following are resources and articles on Angelman syndrome and adulthood
Angelman Syndrome and Obesity (Angelman Syndrome) A 2017 study reporting on a third of Angelman syndrome patients were overweight or obese.
Angelman Syndrome in Adults– (Angelman Syndrome News). An article that describes signs and symptoms of individuals with Angelman Syndrome as they approach adulthood
Anxiety in Angelman Syndrome (Angelman Syndrome News). A topic on anxiety which is commonly observed in individuals with Angelman syndrome including information on triggers and ways to manage anxiety.
AS in Adulthood (AngelmanUKorg). A website describing the transition to adulthood and issues affecting people with Angelman syndrome.
Dental Problems in Angelman Syndrome (Angelman Syndrome News). Information on how people with Angelman Syndrome may be affected and possible treatment plans.
Transitioning to Adulthood Checklist. Created by the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, provides a 4-page checklist resource for students preparing to transition out of school.