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

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Picky eating is a prevalent problem for children with developmental disorders (DDs) (Silbaugh et al., 2016). The lack of nutrients and energy resulting from a picky diet can add additional complexities to their life and treatment. The "picky" variable takes many forms. The color, brand, texture, or taste may contribute to a child's selection of food (i.e., a child will only eat foods of a specific color or of a specific brand). Others will eat a variety of foods but will only consume small amounts of food or drinks.

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Ready, Set, Potty Time!
Toilet training is considered a pivotal skill for young children to master. Toilet training based on positive reinforcement can be an enjoyable experience for children with autism. This milestone allows individuals to participate in community activities and decreases a number of negative consequences that may occur (i.e. diminished personal hygiene, stigmatism, physical discomfort) (Cicero, et.al, 2002). Thus, it is an important skill to teach.
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