latest news
  • Research Study: Sleep in Children with Angelman Syndrome

    Jayne Trickett, Mary Heald and Chris Oliver, researchers from the...

  • Sleep: A New Cerebra Guide for Parents

    A new guide for parents has been developed by researchers...

  • Neurodevelopmental outcome in Angelman Syndrome: Genotype-phenotype correlations

    Angelman syndrome (AS) is a neurogenetic disorder that is characterised...

  • Eating Behavior, Prenatal and Postnatal Growth in Angelman Syndrome

    Clinical characteristics of Angelman syndrome include severe intellectual disability, developmental...

Key Fact
Dr Harry Angelman first described three children with the syndrome in 1965.

History and Prevalence of Angelman Syndrome

It is important to remember that a person is always a person first; a diagnosis is secondary.


Angelman syndrome is a rare genetic disorder and at present the prevalence has been estimated to be between 1 in 12,000 and 1 in 24,000 people in the population.



Angelman syndrome is named after Dr Harry Angelman who first described three children with the syndrome in 1965. After working with the children he was inspired to write an article after seeing a painting in a museum in Verona, Italy entitled "A Boy with a Puppet". This painting gave him the idea of writing a paper titled "Puppet Children".  

In his writing, Dr Angelman described the children as “Happy Puppet Children” because of their happy character and stiff jerky movements and this term was used widely until the late eighties. In 1982, two researchers (Williams and Frias) considered the term ‘Happy Puppet’ to be offensive so the name of the disorder was changed to ‘Angelman syndrome’. 

Ritratto di fanciullo con disegno Giovanni Francesco Caroto (1480-1555)  

The painting that Dr Angelman saw which inspired him to write about the
‘Puppet Children’ he had worked with. 

Download this page as a PDF

child introductions

Harvey is 15 years old and has Angelman syndrome His favourite colours are pink and yellow He enjoys playing hide...