Anxiety and Williams Syndrome
Many individuals with Williams syndrome have anxiety that may begin in childhood and last through adulthood. Some have anticipatory anxiety, or fear of what "may" happen. They can fixate on topics or situations that cause them anxiety and worry about people or situations that may occur.
The use of Social Stories can be used to discuss future occurrences and "tell a story" about what is going to happen. These can be personalized to include pictures of the child, pictures of places or sources of anxiety. This will allow the child to talk about his or her fears and the source of their anxiety and provide a sense of familiarity with the situation, event or place. Ask your child to "read" the story to you and it may provide a calming effect for them.
Allow him or her to see the source of anxiety. If your child becomes anxious about the fire alarm at school, allow him or her to go "see" the fire alarm and ask the school to allow him or her to watch as the fire alarm is pulled. This allows for the child to become more familiar with the source of anxiety and can have a calming, comforting effect. If you child fears vacuum cleaners or lawn mowers, as is common with many children with Williams syndrome; you can set up a situation where the child can see the vacuum or the lawn mower, then progressively work slowly towards the steps of completely having the child interact with the source of anxiety.
It is sometimes best not to talk too much into the future with your child. The anticipatory anxiety can be overwhelming for them. Individuals with Williams syndrome tend to fixate on favorite or positive upcoming events and this can lead to unnecessary anxiety. This can also cause difficulty if plans need to change and the upcoming event does not occur as originally planned.
As with any child, you will learn what works best for him or her.