Rare Syndromes/Disorders

The Shape offers behavior analytic solutions to behavioral issues that stem from rare disorders such as Angelman syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Joubert syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Moebius. Our behavioral approach is effective to help those children affected with rare syndromes and disorders communicate with others.

Angelman Syndrome

A neuro-genetic disorder, Angelman syndrome (AS) significantly delays motor skill milestones and intellectual and physical development. It can also trigger facial tics and spasmodic movements, such as hand flapping. Although sleep disturbances and epilepsy are common, children with AS typically have a happy disposition.

Fragile X

The chromosomal fragile X syndrome, which also affects the mind and body, causes anxiety and severe mood swings. This creates barriers to learning, focusing and talking.

Joubert Syndrome

Joubert syndrome is a rare inherited genetic disorder that affects areas of the brain that controls balance and coordination. Joubert cannot be cured, but The Shape can help with treatments for both physical and language development.


The exceptionally rare congenital syndrome Moebius, which is caused by deformed or missing cranial nerves that control the mouth and eye muscles, is accompanied by facial nerve palsy. The Shape teaches children how tone of voice, body language and physical posture can compensate for difficulties in nonverbal communication.

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS)

This rare genetic disorder, which affects the functioning of the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, impacts physical growth and hormone development. Most individuals or children with PWS have physical developmental and speech delays, poor muscle tone and physical coordination and struggle with compulsive overeating and obesity. Sleep disorders, scoliosis and delayed puberty are also common among children with Prader-Willi syndrome.

The Shape's Treatment of Rare Syndromes and Disorders

We offer counseling for children and families of those with rare syndromes and disorders because we feel support is crucial to build self-esteem. We also teach skills to cope with frustrations, anger and sadness and help them find constructive ways to communicate with their families, teachers and others.

Recent Articles

Autism and Social Skills: How to Teach Effective Communication of Wants and Needs

Social deficits and impairments are a common feature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), (Dogan, King, Fischetti, Lake, Mathews, and Warzak, 2017; and Thompson, 2015). With these deficits acquisition of social skills can be a prolonged process. It can also cause worry for families and caretakers that their loved one may not be able to develop personal relationships in the future. Some examples of social difficulty are initiating interactions, responding to initiation, maintaining eye contact, sharing common hobbies and enjoyment, reading nonverbal cues, taking perspective, understanding and using speech prosody and non-literal language (White, Keonig, and Scahill, 2006). This can seem like a daunting list, but there are empirically validated interventions that have yielded positive results in increasing social skills (Peters and Thompson, 2015; Dogan et. al, 2017).

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Basic Steps for Mand Training
The number of children diagnosed with some type of childhood disorder is in the millions. Along with other delays, communication is an area that has a significant impact on children with autism. Because of these deficits some children fail to acquire age appropriate speech skills, some are unable to speak at all and others can manage a few words or develop a 'jargon' of their own that cannot be understood by people around them aside from their immediate family.
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