New study could produce first FDA approved Autism drug - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

New study could produce first FDA approved Autism drug

Your child may be eligible for an Autism study that just might produce the first FDA approved drug for autism. It's part of the ConnectMe Deaconess Clinic Research Institute. 

It's something no parent wants to deal with, but the CDC says one in 88 children in the US have Autism, Asperger's, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Currently, there are no FDA approved drugs to help.

On Monday, 14 News spoke to one parent whose son has Autism, and she's tried more than a dozen medications to help.

In 2005, Crystal and her husband were expecting their first child. They welcomed Drew Easton Hebner on Halloween. Everything seemed perfect, he crawled and walked when he was supposed to, but around 16 to 18 months, he wasn't reaching another developmental milestone. He wasn't communicating much verbally.

"Sent me to doctor after doctor. Finally they sent me to a neurologist, who as soon as he walked in, put some toys out, looked me straight in the eye, and said your son is autistic," Crystal said. "I had every thought going through my head. I thought, 'No way. This is not my life.' This is not what I signed up for. I anticipated having the perfect child. I was devastated."

Drew was now about 22 months. For the next two years, the Hebner's worked with several therapists and learned to deal with the tantrums, eye rolling, and ticks that came with her son's diagnosis.

"I would say my best day, is probably a normal parent's worst day," Crystal said.

Once Drew turned four, doctors tried 18 medications in a year and a half, and none of them worked.

The new trial drug, Memantine, has potential to help Drew. Although skeptical, Crystal is willing to try.

"It works for him, amazing. That would be phenomenal for him to just walk up to me and say, 'I want a grilled cheese and fries,' would be amazing, rather than me saying say, 'yes or no would you like a grilled cheese,' and getting a simple yes or no. So if it initiates speech, absolutely I would do it," Crystal said.

For now, there have been some improvements, Drew is going to school and he started talking last year. His first words were unforgettable and worth the wait.

"He basically looked at me and said, 'I love you mom' and it was amazing. It was the most incredible feeling ever," Crystal said.

For more information on joining the study, visit or call 1 (877) 900-8735.   

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