Turner Town Exhibit Highlights Turner Syndrome

“Turner Town” is our latest exhibit at the Taubman Health Sciences Library, on display until May 31st.

What is Turner Town?
“Turner Town” is a Turner Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities awareness campaign. It is a self-teaching exhibit for all ages featuring a large private collection of full-size dollhouses illustrating the impact of Turner Syndrome (TS) and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NLD). Storyboards in front of each building describe the everyday challenges of a girl with TS and NLD from birth through her later teenage years. The collection also includes a photo collage of girls with TS and possible solutions in overcoming medical and academic obstacles.

Who designed Turner Town?
Jennifer Wakenell is the designer and “Town Director” of Turner Town. Ms. Wakenell, a graduate student at the U-M School of Social Work, was diagnosed with TS just before entering high school. She has received a number of recognitions, including the Girl Scout Gold Award, the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, and the YWCA Western Wayne County Woman of Achievement Award among others. Since her diagnosis, Ms. Wakenell has done extensive research, attended national conferences in this country and Canada, and participated in several TS medical camps.  In addition, she is a current contact for telephone or internet inquiries to the Turner Syndrome Society of the United States.

Where can I see the exhibit?
“Turner Town” is currently on display at the Taubman Health Sciences Library, located at 1135 E. Catherine Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2038. (Map.)

When can I see Turner Town?
This exhibit will remain on display at the library until May 31, 2012. See the THL website for current library hours.

Why was Turner Town created?
“Turner Town” strives to spread the word about Turner Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning disabilities and to eliminate any stigmas attached to people who may be dealing with health concerns and/or educational problems.

Turner Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that affects only girls. TS impacts girls’ growth and causes other life-long medical problems and some degree of Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NLD).  The most common features of TS include short stature and gonadal dysgenesis (which can cause incomplete sexual development and ovarian failure and infertility), although many organ systems and tissues may also be affected to a lesser or greater degree. Nonverbal Learning Disabilities can be found in both genders, but the symptoms might be subtle and may often be unrecognized or misdiagnosed.  NLD can lead to problems with motor skills, visual/spatial/organizational/time misperceptions and/or social difficulties.  Little is known about these conditions among the general public. Since TS is a chromosomal condition, there is no “cure” for Turner Syndrome. However, much can be done to minimize it’s symptoms. Early diagnosis of TS can allow for growth hormone therapy, which can increase final adult height. Estrogen therapy can be used to induce pubertal development.

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