Subscribe to illnesses and disabilities email updates.
Williams syndrome is a rare disorder caused by missing genes. It can cause developmental and medical problems.
Mental and behavioral symptoms of someone with Williams syndrome might include:
- Being very friendly and trusting of strangers
- Fear of loud sounds or physical contact
- Mild to moderate intellectual disability
- Learning disabilities
- Problems drawing or writing
- Problems paying attention
- Worrying too much
Medical problems of someone with Williams syndrome might include:
- Narrowing of the blood vessels leaving the heart, which can cause high blood pressure and heart failure
- High calcium levels in the blood, which may cause seizures and rigid muscles
- Limited movement of the joints
- Dental problems
Adults with Williams syndrome also tend to have a long, gaunt face and short height.
There is neither a cure for Williams syndrome nor a standard course of treatment. Treatment is given for symptoms as needed. Most people with Williams syndrome need to live with a caregiver.
Explore other publications and websites
Age Appropriate Information (Copyright © Williams Syndrome Association) — this web page provides information about Williams syndrome specific to each stage of life, from infancy through adulthood. It includes information about what you should expect as a parent and advice on how to best care for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions: Williams Syndrome and the WSA (Copyright © Williams Syndrome Association) — This publication offers information about the cause of Williams syndrome, how it is diagnosed, and other frequently asked questions about this syndrome.
Music and Williams Syndrome (Copyright © Williams Syndrome Association) — There is a well-documented connection between affinity for music and Williams syndrome. This fact sheet explains this connection, what it means, and how music therapy might help your child become a successful learner.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Williams Syndrome Information Page — This online publication discusses the definition, causes, prognosis, and treatment options available for Williams syndrome.
Williams Syndrome — This publication explains what Williams syndrome is, what the symptoms are, how it is diagnosed, and what the long-term prognosis is.
Williams Syndrome (Copyright © National Organization for Rare Disorders) — This online publication provides information on the symptoms and diagnosis of Williams syndrome. It also includes sources of additional information.
Connect with other organizations
American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH, HHS
National Organization for Rare Disorders
President's Committee for People With Intellectual Disabilities, ACF, HHS
Public Information and Communications Branch, NICHD, NIH, HHS
The Feingold Center for Children
Williams Syndrome Association, Inc.
Williams Syndrome Foundation
Content last updated September 22, 2009.
Resources last updated September 22, 2009.
A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
200 Independence Avenue, S.W. • Washington, DC 20201