Easily described, the chromosomes are the structure that carry our genes. Most people have 46 chromosomes assembled in 23 couples, one half of every couple comes from the father and the other half from the mother. The 22 first couples are named after their number (1-22) while the last couple, the sex chromosomes, are labeled X and Y. A male has one of each (XY) and a woman has two X chromosomes (XX).

Williams syndrome is caused by the spontaneous deletion of a small part of the long arm on one of the two chromosomes in chromosome 7.

Williams syndrome is named after doctor J C P Williams, who first described the syndrome in 1961. Williams syndrome is a diagnosis with different symptoms, not a disease.

People with Williams syndrome often have some common characteristics and behavior. For example parents often describe that their children with Williams syndrome tend to be social, friendly and endearing. It is also common for people with Williams syndrome to have developmental delays and learning challenges as well as delayed development of motor skills.

Apart from the common characteristics, people with Williams syndrome are just as different from each other as any other individuals – with different interests, personalities, strengths and challenges. This also means that the support from society and school system has to be designed individually.

Today, many children with Williams syndrome use AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) to support their communication development, which has shown positive effects on language development.

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