What is Angelman Syndrome

Angelman Syndrome (AS) is a neurological disorder characterised by global development delays and severe speech impairment.  A few individuals with Angelman Syndrome develop functional speech, but most communicate through a mixture of gestures, eye contact, adaptive sign language and augmentative communication.   

Individuals with Angelman Syndrome have developmental delays and intellectual impairment.  It is suggested by current research that the neuronal development within the brain occurs correctly, but that the neuronal functioning is impaired, which impacts the ability to learn skills.  However individuals will continue to progress during their lives and their ability to learn is greatly enhanced by early intervention and environmental enrichment.  

Angelman Syndrome also causes movement and balance disorders.  Whilst some AS children achieve independent walking by the age of three, there are others that will never achieve this goal within their lifetime.  With some individuals their movement disorder can be so mild as to only affect their walk and some of their fine motor skills.  Whilst others are affected severely preventing self help skills like feeding, walking and dressing.

Most individuals with AS have a seizure disorder which requires medical intervention in most instances.  An unusual attraction to water may be evident.

Other challenges can also include feeding disorders in infancy, failure to thrive and sleeping difficulties. 

Despite all the challenges Angelman Syndrome presents, an ?angel? smile can light up the room and without speaking, express a thousand words.  With a generally happy demeanour, frequent smiles, laughing and excitability they are truly a joy to be around.