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WS in the News


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.