A Grandmother's Story

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Sylvia Hughes and Reagan
Sylvia Hughes and Reagan
Sylvia Hughes invests in the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation because she believes that well-funded scientists will discover ways to prevent and cure mental health disorders

This week Sylvia Hughes is traveling to celebrate her grandson's 8th birthday with him. She always visits her grandchildren for their birthdays, even though she and her husband live on the opposite side of the country. {C}

"As grandparents we are as close to them as we can be given the distance between us," Hughes said.

Hughes' 8-year-old grandson, Reagan, was diagnosed as "on the spectrum" of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) when he was 2. Since the time of his diagnosis, Reagan's family has sought early interventions with special therapeutic and educational programs designed for children with difficulties associated with ASD. In these environments, Reagan has thrived, Hughes said.

"The therapeutic element is very helpful," she said. "Reagan needs to work on his behavior in social situations. He gets in your personal space and also has emotional meltdowns. I see progress. These interactions are helping him. He is a charming, charming kid - and he loves school, absolutely loves it!"

Sometimes, though, these special programs are not available and Reagan's parents at this point don't feel comfortable putting him into public schools. For his first- and now second-grade school years, Reagan will be home schooled along with his older brother and younger sister. He is however in a supplemental pilot therapeutic program for children with ASD.

Hughes has a special relationship with her grandson. "I taught him how to ride his bicycle this spring," she said. Hughes is very concerned about his future life. She supports the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation because of its broad research support across mental health disorders.

Donate to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and help make recovery for people like Reagan, living with mental illness, a reality Your donation will help more people like Reagan achieve happy and productive lives.  DONATE TODAY >

"I think science is going to explain to us a bit better what the spectrum disorder is, which will lead to interventions that will allow us to - if not prevent - avoid the worst of the consequences of spectrum disorder issues," Hughes said. "The research is key to helping us find ways to alleviate the destruction that can happen in people's lives. We need to allow children to grow up normally and not be detoured into such debilitating problems."

Reagan in many ways is a healthy, growing boy. He recently made his birthday wishes clear when he had his grandparents go to a website to see the new set of LEGOs he wants. That wish will be granted, but Hughes' has her own wish for her grandson: "I want whatever is happening in my grandson's brain to be diagnosed and treated effectively so he can have a normal life."

Until then she will visit Reagan, shower him with love, and continue to support the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

Article comments

If only that could happen for my grandson. He is so smart but, the behavior gets in the way a lot of time. There is not enough love, patience, and compassion in his little life. He is 6 yrears old but has the mind of an adult. He acts like a child but when he speaks its either funny or what you wouldn't hear a 6 year old say. But, his social skills are not good. He don't get social cues. He gets so angy he hits and is difiant. He gets punished because his parents and others don't know or care that he has some type of behavior disorder. Only his Grandmother really understands, so no one understands why he always wants to be with me. I am a source of security for him. His don't understand his needs so they don't want me to see him. they say thats why he acts that way. They kept him away for six months he still acts the same way. Thank you. Mary Tucker

That's very sad. Good Luck Mary!

Regarding high functioning Asperger's.
What happens after about age 15, 16?

Wondering how high functioning Asperger's can be so good in school, and so lacking in social skills

Have to agree with Silvia I will be donating my Will to charities for the very reason of finding cures sought after without funding.

Rupert

Hello Dr. Daniel Geschwind I am a underserved young adult with aspbergers syndrome who cant get my needs met in Washington state is there a psychologist that practices in the area of autism that can work with me on my vast needs this has been a very hard time for me I am unemployed and don't have much money and on social security disability there are not enough services for me I would like to be a successful person in are society but I have been held back by the system on many levels this has been a very hard time for me I also have depression because of me being a underserved young adult who cant get my needs met and the community college in my area was very punitive to me and did not understand my aspbergers syndrome and suspended me for three years this has been rough I also have a math learning disability . I hope in the future people like me can get there needs met so I can have a successful adult life were I don't have to struggle so much . thank you for your time Jessica

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