October 12, 2012. Bonita P. Klein-Tasman, Brianna N. Young, Karen Levine, Kenia Rivera, Elizabeth J. Miecielica, Brianna D. Yund, and Sydni E. French

ABSTRACT: Children with Williams syndrome often experience anxieties and fears, yet there are no published studies examining the effectiveness of psychological interventions to address these challenges. In the current study, we present a case series of nine young children with Williams syndrome ages 4 through 10 who participated in a play- and humor-infused approach to exposure therapy in several sessions over a 2–3 day period. Functional assessment was conducted to identify intervention targets. Symptom severity was tracked before the intervention. Following the intervention, symptom severity was once again tracked and measures of treatment acceptability were completed. Longer-term follow-up was also conducted 10–22 months after the intervention with parental ratings and narrative feedback. Results support the promise of this approach for reducing fears and anxieties in children with Williams syndrome. The impact of individual differences on treatment response and direction for further enhancements to the intervention to maximize its effectiveness and accessibility are discussed. Further, implications of this approach for intervention development with children with rare neurogenetic conditions are explored.