Autism advancements

ROCHESTER, Minn. – After a breakthrough diagnosis, a local family is reaching out to parents of severely mentally challenged kids. When Reece, son of Brad and Joan Trahan, was three years old, he was diagnosed with severe autism.

“Since that time it’s certainly been a journey. We’ve had some good days and we’ve had some very tense days,” says Brad.

11 years later, Reece is still non-verbal, and was actually getting worse.

“He was uncoordinated in his legs, has eyes were rolling back, and he was holding his breath up to maybe 40 times a day 5 to 8 seconds. It was scary,” says Brad.

They took him to a neurologist who suggested some lab work. While it wasn’t easy to endure, in the end they learned that his neuro-transmitters were abnormal. What sounded like bad news turned into the most hope they’ve had in those 11 years.

“They said that with the neuro-transmitters being the way they were, there was a medication to help. He takes one pill in the morning and two in the afternoon and we could see a significant, positive, change,” says Brad.

One of the major signs of improvement came on the way to his first follow up appointment.

“We went to Mayo, and his appointment was on the 16th floor. We were all by ourselves in the elevator with all the buttons unlit and what did Reece do? He looked at the panel and pushed 16,” says Brad.

They were astounded, but that wasn’t the only sign. They also noticed that his attention span has increased as well as his ability to learn.

“We’ve seen him match symbols to a certain item on his iPad. He went 4 for 4 doing that,” says Brad.

The Trahan’s have a message for fellow parents of severely autistic children.

“If you are going through some tough situations please see your pediatrician, see your neurologist. Science has changed, there may be something out there to help your child and if it helps your child, it’s going to help you,” says Brad.

Not only is it helping families, these studies are also helping to find a cure.

“We aren’t only learning about Reece, we’re giving tools to our physicians to learn about autism in general. It doesn’t get better than that,” says Brad.

The family also says this kind of testing is not only becoming more advanced, but more affordable as well. Physicians are learning from the results, so they are often covered by insurance.

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