It has long been thought that Williams-Beuren syndrome occurs in 1 in 20,000 births, however more recent research indicates that is it far more common – possibly occurring in 1 in 7500. It comprises approximately 6% of all developmental disabilities.
Individuals with Williams-Beuren are missing some portion of a small region of chromosome 7 that is thought to contain 25 genes. The abnormality is not hereditary, but is rather caused by a nonhereditary genetic irregularity.
Patients with Williams-Beuren syndrome have a combination of intellectual impairment, cardiovascular problems and significant visual and spatial difficulties.
They often have strong language skills and good auditory memory, and tend to be affable and hyperverbal, but are also prone to anxiety and phobias.
Educational management and behavioral interventions are helpful in teaching socialization and management of fears.