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​What is Williams Syndrome?

Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare disorder caused by the deletion of genetic material from a specific region of chromosome 7. It was discovered in the 1960s, but because it is so rare (affecting roughly 1 in 7500), it is not well-known in the Balkans.


WS equally affects boys and girls. All age groups are characterized by distinctive facial features such as a broad forehead, a short nose with a broad tip, full cheeks, and wide mouth with full lips.

Most people with WS have some difficulties with learning and intellectual development, especially with visual-spatial tasks, and rough and fine motor skills. Problems with orientation and depth perception can make it difficult to perform simple tasks such as climbing stairs or crossing the street. Hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating are particularly present in children. Though hyperacusis (sensitivity to loud noises) is often present at young age, both children and adults with WS love music and enjoy all activities involving music. 

Despite an initial delay in language skills, people with WS have a fairly developed communication. Because of their talkativeness and relatively fluent expression, they often give the impression that their understanding of language is at a higher level than it really is.

Both children and adults with WS are extremely sociable, showing little social inhibition. Anxiety can be present at different ages, as well as obsessive interests for certain activities or people.

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