The boy without fear of strangers: the four-year-old has a rare condition, which means that he & # 39; over-friendly & # 39; is and & # 39; speaks to everyone & # 39;
- Alex Vasey, from Aberdeen, suffers from Williams syndrome, a genetic disorder
- It causes a series of development problems, including being overly friendly
- Alex & # 39; father Don said his eyes & # 39; have a starburst pattern around his iris & # 39;
With his radiant smile, Alex Vasey is a smart and friendly little boy.
But the four-year-old has a rare medical condition, which means that he is extra social – and is not afraid of strangers.
Alex suffers from Williams syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes a range of health and developmental problems, including being over-friendly.
So when he started the nursery this summer, his parents Don and Bethan didn't worry about making friends, because he will talk to everyone he meets.
But he doesn't understand when people are unkind.
With his radiant smile, Alex Vasey is a smart and friendly little boy. But the four-year-old has a rare medical condition, which means that he is extra social – and is not afraid of strangers
Mr. Vasey, from Aberdeen, said: & Alex talks to everyone on the street. He is not shy. But he will not understand certain things, such as stranger danger.
& # 39; He is generally so happy and loving and caring. He sees the good in everyone. He is also very empathetic. When another child starts crying, he wants to know that they are doing well and make them happy.
& # 39; He's very friendly and outgoing, and that's the thing – he can be easily used. He lacks social awareness. & # 39;
His verbal skills are also greater than his colleagues in the nursery – another feature of the syndrome – who can often mask that there is a problem.
But Mr. Vasey, who is 40 and studying for a doctorate in psychology, explains that Alex has no idea when words are said to upset someone and make him vulnerable.
WHAT IS WILLIAMS SYNDROME?
Williams Syndrome (WS) is present at birth and can affect anyone. Figures show that about one in 18,000 people strikes.
It is characterized by medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning disabilities.
These often occur alongside striking verbal skills, highly social personalities and affinity with music.
Children with WS may need expensive and ongoing medical care and early interventions, including speech or occupational therapy.
As they grow, they struggle with things like spatial relationships, numbers and abstract reasoning that can make everyday tasks a challenge.
As adults, most people with WS need supportive housing to live optimally.
He said: & # 39; He picks up words from the environment in which he finds himself. He repeats them, but he does not necessarily understand their concept. & # 39;
Vasey and his 38-year-old wife Bethan, a technical project manager, had never heard of the condition until Alex, who is also sensitive to loud noises, was diagnosed one year old.
But the most visible sign of the condition occurred months earlier.
Mr. Vasey said: “His eyes have a starburst pattern around his iris. Everyone kept saying & # 39; He has beautiful eyes & # 39; but that is a characteristic of Williams syndrome. & # 39;
Alex, who has a two-year-old sister, Agatha, had appeared in perfect health for ten months.
But then he fell ill with a cold and his mother took him to the doctor, who discovered that he had a slight heart murmur.
Alex was referred to the city's Royal Children's Hospital, where doctors discovered that he had a heart defect called supravalvular aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
It is a common abnormality in patients with Williams syndrome, affecting one in 18,000 people worldwide.
Scans so far have shown that his heart functions well enough without treatment, but his parents know he may eventually need surgery.
Mr. Vasey, who is a fundraising officer in the UK and Scottish coordinator for the Williams Syndrome Foundation, said: “When they told us, it was life-changing. What you imagined for your child will suddenly change. & # 39;
But the condition, which also causes mild to moderate learning disabilities, does not stop Alex from enjoying his love of music and dancing, and he shines during his regular ballet classes.
Mr. Vasey said: & If they have to dance or sing in the nursery, he is always the first. He is a funny, kind, happy little boy and he keeps us happy. & # 39;
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