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Taylor Blackmer
Taylor Blackmer campaign leader

Extraordinary Gifts and Unique Challenges

Williams syndrome
is a genetic condition that is present at birth and can affect anyone. 
It is characterized by medical and cognitive problems, including
cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning
disabilities.  These occur side by side with striking verbal abilities,
highly social personalities and an affinity for music.
affects 1 in 10,000 people worldwide – an estimated 20,000 to 30,000
people in the United States. It is known to occur equally in both males
and females and in every culture.

disorders that can make connecting with your child difficult, children
with WS tend to be social, friendly and endearing.  Parents often say
the joy and perspective a child with WS brings into their lives had been
there are major struggles as well.  Many babies have life-threatening
cardiovascular problems. Children with WS need costly and ongoing
medical care, and early interventions (such as speech, physical and
occupational therapy) that may not be covered by insurance or state
funding.  As they grow, they struggle with things like spatial
relations, numbers and abstract reasoning, which can make daily tasks a
challenge. The majority of adults with WS need supportive housing to
live to their fullest potential.  Many adults with WS contribute to
their communities as volunteers or paid employees working at senior
homes and libraries or as store greeters or veterinary aides, but few
are able to work a "full-time" job, or earn a large enough salary to be
for social interaction are vitally important as well. As people with WS
mature – beyond the structure of school and family activities – they
often experience intense isolation which can lead to depression and
increased anxiety.  Individuals are extremely sociable and experience
the normal need to connect with others; however people with Williams
syndrome often do not process nuanced social cues and this makes it
difficult to form lasting relationships.
The Williams Syndrome Association
(WSA) was formed in 1982 by, and for, families of individuals with
Williams syndrome.  The WSA is primarily a national organization but has
members worldwide.  It is the largest WS support organization in the
world and a leader among Williams syndrome support groups.
WSA is the most comprehensive resource for people and families living
with Williams syndrome as well as doctors, researchers and educators. 
The WSA provides resources, support and the latest medical information
to help families and caregivers of individuals with Williams syndrome
throughout his/her life.  Our mission as the largest and premier
organization-serving individuals with Williams syndrome continues to be
to improve the lives of people living with WS. The WSA offers support
intended to help individuals with Williams syndrome live fuller, longer
lives by helping families and caregivers navigate the challenges of the
disorder from diagnosis through adulthood.

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