Thursday, June 19, 2008

UD professor examines spatial deficits in Williams syndrome children

UD professor examines spatial deficits in Williams syndrome children:

"“We believe that the spatial distortions we see in drawings and other visio-spatial construction tasks by people with Williams syndrome do not reflect corresponding distortions in their perception of the world. We will argue that this syndrome leaves spared a number of spatial cognitive subsystems, including object recognition and identification, biological motion perception and spatial languageĊ and that some of the most profound deficits are not due to abnormal architecture, but to small misadjustments that culminate in large downward spiraling performance.”

One example of this, Hoffman said, is that persons with WS know that their drawings are not correct. The most common errors involved choosing an incorrect part and drawing it in an incorrect location. They can easily distinguish between correct and incorrect drawings of models, but they can’t do better when they try again, he said.

“Drawing or assembling parts to make a model is an extremely frustrating experience for them because they are aware of their poor abilities in this domain, and they usually resort to random changes in an effort to correct their efforts. However, the defect is not simply a problem with motor output either because they can trace drawings just fine. So their spatial deficits are not due simply to either problems in input (perception) or output (action) but to some cognitive processes in between. We are now trying to characterize the nature of these processes,” he said. "

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Brothers' business ventures gaining national attention

The Hays Daily News

Jim Warren started WonderPaper by Jason about six months ago for his oldest son, Jason, who has Williams Syndrome.

"It's a business that he can work in," Jim Warren said. "It was born out of Erik's work."

The Warrens buy large sheets of WonderPaper, cut them into two smaller sizes and sell them to scroll saw artists, such as Erik Warren.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Williams syndrome, the brain, and music

Salk Institute:

October 4, 2006

— La Jolla, CA —Children with Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, just love music and will spend hours listening to or making music. Despite averaging an IQ score of 60, many possess a great memory for songs, an uncanny sense of rhythm, and the kind of auditory acuity that can discern differences between different vacuum cleaner brands.

A study by a multi-institutional collaboration of scientists, published in a forthcoming issue of NeuroImage, identified structural abnormalities in a certain brain area of people afflicted with Williams syndrome. This might explain their heightened interest in music and, in some cases, savant-like musical skill.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Knowing looks: Using gaze aversion to tell when children are learning - politics.co.uk

ESRC: Knowing looks: Using gaze aversion to tell when children are learning:

"She says that, from the point of view of the teacher, gaze aversion is a positive sign. A child who is doing it is likely to be developing their understanding and is what Dr Doherty-Sneddon terms an “improver”. By contrast, children who are not improving their performance, or who are regressing, use gaze aversion less often.

Keeping an eye on gaze aversion is especially valuable for teachers and social workers who are trying to understand the mental state of people with: Autistic spectrum disorders (ASD); Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); or Williams Syndrome, the genetic condition popularly called Cocktail Party Syndrome. “People with Williams Syndrome have been characterised as being hypersociable and using excessive amounts of eye contact, which is an interesting contrast to people with autism. Our gaze aversion work promises to provide new and important insights into the mental and social functioning of such groups” says Dr Doherty-Sneddon."

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Locals compete in 5K race to benefit Williams Syndrome

Locals compete in 5K race to benefit Williams Syndrome | coshoctontribune.com | Coshocton Tribune

"COSHOCTON - Thunderstorms whisking through the area Saturday morning did not deter approximately 70 people from taking part in the third annual Brittany's 5K Run/Walk Benefit at Lake Park."