Smiles Belie Child's Serious Condition
Sarah (pronounced sorra) is a beautiful young girl, five years of age, with a rare genetic disease of the nervous system called Angelman Syndrome (AS). She displays the characteristic AS features of delayed development, speech impairment (she is non-verbal), and problems with movement and balance (she is not yet walking).
Children with AS typically have a happy, excitable demeanor with frequent smiling, laughter and hand-flapping movements. Sarah is very popular with everyone who knows her and is loved by all. She lives with her mother, Mariam, two brothers (ages 10 and 17) and one sister (age 9) in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Mariam and her husband are Egyptian/American and lived in Egypt for sixteen years. All four of their children were born there. The family decided to return to America when Sarah was diagnosed so she could receive the necessary treatment and services that were not available to them in Egypt.
They moved to Las Cruces to be near their family for emotional and spiritual support.