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Age Appropriate - Ages 13-18

The following section contains introductory information for parents of children ages 13-18 with Williams syndrome.

This information is provided from the Fulfilling Dreams book.

Ages 13-18

As children with Williams syndrome reach adolescence, many changes take place.

Academically, as students complete middle school and move on to high school, transition programs must be put in place. It's time to start looking at what might be ahead for our children after high school and making sure that the educational program will support those goals.

Socially, our children often begin to flounder, as their peers take giant leaps in maturity as compared to their much smaller steps. That can lead to emotional upheaval as our children begin to ask, "Why Am I Different." Children begin to take their first steps toward asserting their independence. Mood swings and increased anxieties are common. Sexually, young teens must adjust to their changing bodies and emotional states, and parents are faced with the challenge of helping to make that adjustment as smooth as possible.

During this time, parents should focus on building self-confidence and fostering independence. We must foster good decision making skills, a healthy assertiveness and respect for others.

There are also new medical concerns we must be watching for. Medical experts advise that we pay special attention to musculoskeletal changes - watching for spinal curvatures and joint contractures, be vigilant about checking for increased blood pressure, and be aware that gastrointestinal problems can appear during the teen years.

The teen years are challenging, but there are excellent resources available.

See the following areas: