Children With Williams Syndrome: Language, Cognitive, and Behavioral Characteristics and Their Implications for Intervention Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by heart disease, failure to thrive, hearing loss, intellectual or learning disability, speech and language delay, gregariousness, and nonsocial anxiety. The WS psycholinguistic profile is complex, including relative strengths in concrete vocabulary, phonological processing, and verbal short-term memory; and relative weaknesses ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2011
Children With Williams Syndrome: Language, Cognitive, and Behavioral Characteristics and Their Implications for Intervention
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carolyn B. Mervis
    University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
  • Shelley L. Velleman
    University of Vermont, Burlington VT
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Articles
Article   |   October 01, 2011
Children With Williams Syndrome: Language, Cognitive, and Behavioral Characteristics and Their Implications for Intervention
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, October 2011, Vol. 18, 98-107. doi:10.1044/lle18.3.98
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, October 2011, Vol. 18, 98-107. doi:10.1044/lle18.3.98

Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by heart disease, failure to thrive, hearing loss, intellectual or learning disability, speech and language delay, gregariousness, and nonsocial anxiety. The WS psycholinguistic profile is complex, including relative strengths in concrete vocabulary, phonological processing, and verbal short-term memory; and relative weaknesses in relational/conceptual language, reading comprehension, and pragmatics. Many children evidence difficulties with finiteness marking and complex grammatical constructions. Speech-language intervention, support, and advocacy are crucial.

Acknowledgments
Preparation of this manuscript was supported by grant #R37 HD29957 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (C. B. Mervis, PI).
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