demonstrates the love of music common among Williams kids.
syndrome is a rare genetic disorder affecting one in 25,000
children. Its symptoms range from mental retardation to heart
and dental problems to an appealing elfin face with a starburst
pattern in the irises. The most striking characteristic of
people with Williams, however, is their extreme friendliness.
In "Friendly Genes," Alan attends a picnic in La Jolla, California
attended by people with Williams syndrome, their families
and the scientists looking into the causes and effects of
this rare and intriguing syndrome.
is touched by the warm reception he gets from Scott and Steven,
39-year-old twins who were among the first 60 cases of Williams
syndrome identified in United States. Ambassadors for the
syndrome, Scott and Steven are seeing to it that the next
generation of Williams kids doesn't suffer as much as they
did because they're growing up different. Alan also gets spontaneously
serenaded by Betsy, another Williams kid, who channels her
sociability into making music.
Bellugi began investigating Williams syndrome at the Salk
Institute in the early 1980's. Bellugi and her collegues hope
that studying the strenghs and weaknesses of Williams people
will reveal the functions of the genes behind the syndrome.
As Alan notes with amazement, Bellugi and the Williams kids
are "beginning to track down how we are who we are."
more on this topic, see the web feature:
Up Different- Together