Background: Individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) are hypersocial; yet, they experience social difficulties and trouble with relationships. This report summarizes findings from three studies examining the social functioning of adults with WS and the feasibility of a social skills training program for adults with WS (SSTP-WS) through the examination of performance on initial lesson plans.
Method: Study 1: 114 parents of adults with WS completed the Social Responsiveness Scale-2. Study 2: 10 adults with WS and 12 of their parents participated in focus groups to further describe the deficits identified in Study 1 and to discuss a SSTP-WS. Study 3: 30 adults with WS were randomly assigned to 2 lessons on either conversations or relationships and pre-post change in social skills knowledge was assessed.
Results: Study 1 indicates adults with WS experience severe social impairments in social cognition, and mild-moderate impairments in social awareness and social communication. Qualitative results in Study 2 indicate a SSTP-WS should address conversation skills and relationships. In Study 3, participants showed gains in social skills knowledge following completion of lessons.
Implications: A SSTP-WS may be beneficial for adults with WS. Future research should describe the social needs of individuals with WS at different ages and should further develop a SSTP-WS.
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