Behavioral and Anxiety Concerns in Angelman Syndrome
Dr. Chris Keary, a world-class expert on Angelman Syndrome, discusses behavioral and anxiety concerns in individuals with the syndrome. He presents three cases to highlight common behavioral challenges and discusses the research behind these concerns. Dr. Keary emphasizes the importance of non-medication-based approaches such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, and behavioral therapy. He also discusses medication options for more severe cases. Overall, the webinar provides valuable insights and strategies for supporting individuals with Angelman Syndrome.
In this webinar, Dr. Christopher Keary, the Behavioral Director at the Massachusetts General Hospital Angelman Syndrome Clinic, discusses behavioral and anxiety concerns in individuals with Angelman Syndrome. Dr. Keary is a world-class expert on Angelman Syndrome and provides valuable insights into common concerns, research findings, and treatment approaches.
Case Study: John
Dr. Keary presents a case study of John, a 19-year-old man with Angelman Syndrome. John’s parents are concerned about his increasing agitation and aggression when separated from them or when attention is divided. Dr. Keary explains that aggressive behaviors are among the most common concerns in individuals with Angelman Syndrome, according to research studies. He discusses potential triggers for aggression, such as frustration, communication difficulties, attention-seeking, and overstimulation. Dr. Keary suggests non-medication-based treatment approaches, including occupational therapy, speech therapy, and behavioral therapy. He also mentions medications that may help with aggression if non-medication approaches are not effective.
Case Study: Sam
The next case study presented by Dr. Keary is about Sam, a 7-year-old boy with Angelman Syndrome. Sam exhibits hyperactivity and has difficulty sitting still or focusing. Dr. Keary explains that hyperactivity is a common feature of Angelman Syndrome and can be challenging for both the individual and their caregivers. He suggests non-medication-based treatments, such as adequate sleep, exercise, and occupational therapy. Dr. Keary also mentions medications that may help with hyperactivity, such as guanfacine and stimulant medications, but notes that they should be considered further down the line due to potential side effects.
Case Study: Liz
The final case study presented by Dr. Keary is about Liz, a 14-year-old girl with Angelman Syndrome. Liz is experiencing sleep difficulties, including difficulty falling asleep and separation anxiety at night. Dr. Keary explains that sleep problems are common in individuals with Angelman Syndrome and can be caused by various factors, including sleep onset associations, co-occurring medical issues, and separation anxiety. He suggests non-medication-based treatments, such as consistent bedtime routines, sleep hygiene practices, and behavioral interventions to break sleep onset associations. Dr. Keary also mentions medications that may help with sleep difficulties, such as melatonin, clonidine, and trazodone.
Dr. Keary concludes the webinar by emphasizing the importance of understanding the function of behavior and the role of behavioral therapy and speech therapy in addressing behavioral challenges in individuals with Angelman Syndrome. He also highlights that medications can play an adjunctive role in treatment when non-medication approaches are not effective. Dr. Keary encourages individuals to seek further information and support from the Angelman Syndrome Foundation and Angelman Academy.
- Title: Behavioral and Anxiety concerns in Angelman Syndrome
- Author(s): Christopher Keary
- Author(s)’ affiliation: Massachusetts General Hospital
- Publication date: 2022-12-15
- Collection: Angelman Academy