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WS in the News

What the World’s Most Sociable People Reveal About Friendliness
Researchers are turning to a rare genetic condition to explore the mysterious origins of human cooperation.

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Philadelphia #Walk4Williams 2019



Jake Surprises Matthew at school with special gift

Jake and Matthew attend the same school, and Jake decided to make Matthew's day with the gift of a cement truck. The friendship is the real gift, and the video went viral. Click for the story.  


Country Music and Brain Research come Together at Nashville Summer Camp

Nashville Public Radio produced a story about the the Vanderbilt University program supported by CMA's Living Lives program and it ran on All Things Considered July 31, 2017. Listen to or read the segment here


Understanding Williams Syndrome: Genetic condition brings host of medical problems but also unlimited capacity to love

WGN-TV in Chicago ran an insensitive and uninformed piece on Williams syndrome. Several parents rallied and reached out to them demanding an apology (which the news station offered) but also requested that they do a story that would reflect Williams syndrome realistically, which they did. It aired July 27, 2017. The power of community! To watch the entire segment, click here. 




Hundreds Walk for Williams while Honoring Boy Killed in School Shooting

May 20, 2017, the Walk for Williams annual event in Santa Monica held special meaning, as it was dedicated to Jonathan Martinez, who was shot in a school shooting the month before. ED Terry Monkaba walked with his grieving parents and family, who were dedicated to allowing WS to be promoted in his name to raise awareness. Local television affiliates came out to film the more than 500 supporters. See the CBS coverage here.



Rose Murphy was featured, along with her family, in a story about WS and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in May 2017.

View the CBS segment here


The newspaper ran story about six year old Ben Liestman, who has a charming fasination with vacuum cleaners. 

Read the story and view the video here



Super-social gene may hold clues to autism, other disorders


Those with Williams syndrome have a distinctive pattern of intellectual peaks and valleys, including low IQs, developmental delays and learning disabilities, all coupled with a rich, imaginative capacity for language — and those exuberantly social personalities.

Researchers have puzzled over that extreme friendliness for decades, pondering the causes and complicated traits that go with the syndrome that affects 1 in every 10,000 people, says Ursula Bellugi, a researcher at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., who has studied the disorder for a quarter-century.

They've come to believe that Williams syndrome, which is characterized by unique genetic markers and distinct behaviors, may actually hold the secrets to understanding other better-known disorders — including autism. 

View the segment here.

ABC 20/20 Story

Friendly to the Extreme: Meet Kids and Adults With Williams Syndrome


When 20/20's Chris Cuomo attended a camp for children with Williams he was besieged by hugs and slaps on the back. Then came the barrage of questions. "What's your favorite color?" "Where do you live?" "Have you met Barney the Dinosaur?" 

Learn more about sociability and other aspects of Williams syndrome.

View the segment here.