Event Abstract

Neuroplasticity in Williams Syndrome – Intervention on Attention Problems

  • 1 Fundación Publica Galega de Medicina Xenómica, Spain
  • 2 University of Minho, Department of Psychology, Portugal
  • 3 University of Minho, Life and Health Sciences Research Institute, Portugal
  • 4 Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • 5 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
  • 6 Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Grupo de Medicina Xenómica, Spain

Williams Syndrome (WS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder (1/7500) caused by a submicroscopic delection in the band q11.22-23 of chromosome 7 and involves a highly unusual set of clinical characteristics. WS patients exhibit a very distinctive cognitive profile, with relative strengths in language and facial processing, contrasting with profound impairments in visuo-spatial cognition. In addition, specific emotional and behavioural features have been described, being attention and concentration the most common problems (Davies, Howlin, & Udwin, 1997). Indeed, these deficits are corroborated by parents reports and our clinical assessment with Luria Neuropsychological Investigation (Christensen, 1989). This specific cognitive architecture reinforces the need of designing specific intervention strategies to improve these weak areas. Thus, the objective of this work is to present the intervention work that we have accomplished in the last 5 years in the regional Galician Williams Syndrome Association (ASWG) in Santiago de Compostela (Northwest of Spain) with 20 patients with WS.

Our cognitive stimulation program developed in this association is a bottom up approach that consists in training programmes involving multimodal stimulation characterized by repetitive practice of specific cognitive exercises designed to strengthen basic skills that are essential for more complex cognitive function. Taking into account that attention is a cognitive process that mediates other cognitive skills, as memory, executive functions and visuo-perceptive abilities, one approach of our intervention program was focused on attention. Thus, we developed specific psycho-educative material (in both paper and digital versions) to work attention problems, in order to have a major impact in other cognitive processes and ultimately in promoting a scholar, social and occupational adjustment.

Conference: 12th International Professional Conference on Williams Syndrome, Garden Grove,CA, United States, 13 Jul - 14 Jul, 2008.

Presentation Type: Poster Presentation

Topic: Multidisciplinary Poster Session

Citation: Férnandez-Prieto M, Sampaio A, Lens M, Garayzábal E, Gonçalves O and Carracedo A (2009). Neuroplasticity in Williams Syndrome – Intervention on Attention Problems. Conference Abstract: 12th International Professional Conference on Williams Syndrome. doi: 10.3389/conf.neuro.09.2009.07.035

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Received: 04 May 2009; Published Online: 04 May 2009.

* Correspondence: M. Férnandez-Prieto, Fundación Publica Galega de Medicina Xenómica, Madrid, Spain, pcmonise@usc.es