What does it mean to be relevant? Does everyone have an equal opportunity to BE relevant? They say that what you don’t know won’t hurt you. But I’m not so sure they are right. For individuals with Williams syndrome and other learning differences, what they don’t know has a huge impact on their ability to understand the world around them, and, consequently, their ability to engage in relevant social conversations and experiences with their peers.
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Children with Williams syndrome have many similarities, but they are not all alike. If we lump them all together, or make assumptions about an individual with WS who we just met, based on an individual or 2 we may have met in the past, we will probably be doing our new friend an injustice. However, when it comes to education, a teacher’s knowledge of their similarities - especially in learning styles, will be extremely helpful.
As I read posts on the WS Support page, the listserve, throughout Facebook, and think back on my son’s school years it is clear to me, that late August and early September are clearly a time for new beginnings – much more so than the traditional New Year’s Day. But the new beginnings that I am talking about are not signaled by all night parties, and resolutions... I am talking about a time that comes complete with all the emotions that are associated with a new start – from anticipation and excitement to stress and anxiety. Think back to each new job
"At-a-glance" therapeutic Informational sheets were created for the WSA by therapists with a depth of knowledge about Williams syndrome. The sheets contain general explanations of what each therapeutic intervention does, how they are mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and which of the WS related challenges they can help to overcome.
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA'97), is your child's roadmap through the public education system. The IEP is created specifically for YOUR child, and will guide his or her curriculum, education strategies, and supplemental services (occupational, physical, speech, music therapy etc.). If your child qualifies for special education, this document is critical to his or her success.
Psychological testing is usually conducted every 3 years by school systems. Parents have the right to request that the testing be performed by a designated testing specialist (outside of the school system). It is important for parents to ask what test batteries the school specialist intends to use, as not every test is appropriate for students with Williams syndrome.
Educators face unique challenges teaching children with Williams syndrome. The information presented here is a good starting point for understanding how to address these unique issues
Williams Syndrome Information for Teachers
by: Karen Levine, Ph.D.
Psychologist, Co-Director Williams Syndrome Program
The Children's Hospital, Boston, MA