What Treatment is Available for Williams Syndrome?
Like many disorders, there is no cure for Williams syndrome so treatment focuses on the management of symptoms which requires a multidisciplinary approach. Treatment can be separated into two key components, these include:
Many babies have life-threatening cardiovascular problems which require close monitoring from birth. This may also require surgery depending on the severity of the condition. As children with Williams Syndrome present with a number of dental abnormalities, most children will need to have these abnormalities corrected to assist with breathing, feeding or speech. Many of these dental changes require and are able to be corrected by a dentist or orthodontist.
Children with Williams Syndrome need costly and ongoing medical care and early interventions through a number of different specialists to ensure proper functioning of all parts of the body. This often includes ophthalmology, cardiology, otolaryngology, speech therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, neurology, psychology, physiotherapy and gastroenterology.
Children with Williams Syndrome often present with low muscle tone and as they get older, joint stiffness (contractures) may develop. Physical therapy is very helpful in improving muscle tone, strength and joint range of motion. Children with William Syndrome sometimes have sensitive hearing which often improves with age however may require the care of an ENT specialist if further complications arise.
As they grow, children with Williams Syndrome also struggle with things like spatial relationships, numbers, and abstract reasoning, which can make daily tasks a challenge. Speech Pathologists are able to help individuals who have difficulty with spatial and semantic relationships. Occupational Therapists and Psychologists are also involved in assisting with numeracy and abstract reasoning difficulties.
Speech Pathologists are most often involved in the Social training of children with Williams Syndrome. Although they are extremely sociable and experience the need to connect with others; they are often overly social and have difficulty process nuanced social cues making it difficult to form lasting relationships. A speech pathologist will individually tailor a social training program based on the child’s social level, to assist with everyday common social interactions.
Are children with Williams Syndrome eligible to receive Government funding for therapy?
Children, who have been diagnosed with of a range of disorders, including Williams Syndrome, may be eligible to receive funding for therapy and resources until your child turns 7. The Better Start for Children with Disability initiative includes up to $12,000 in funding for early intervention services and treatments for eligible children. Additional assistance is also available for eligible children who live in outer-regional, rural or remote locations to help with the costs of accessing services. A Medicare rebate is also available for eligible children up to the age of 13.
If you have questions about speech pathology for children with Williams Syndrome, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a speech pathologist. Contact Us Today!
You can read more about Williams Syndrome at: Williams Syndrome Association