A young Autistic tri-state boy became part of a research study for the first ever FDA approved drug for Autism.
14 News first met the Hebners in February and they are now almost three months into a year long Autism study and showing amazing results with what for them, has been a life changing drug.
The Hebner family is calling it "Drew Easton's Autism Journey," after agreeing to take part in a National Autism study. Crystal, Drew's mother, began to spread a message of hope through a Facebook page.
Drew, now 7-and-a-half-years-old began taking memenatine or namenda, a commonly used Alzheimer's drug in February. Unlike any other medicine used to treat "Autism spectrum disorders," instead of trying to inhibit behavioral or social difficulties, it works to increase abilities and for the Henbers, it's working.
"His expressive language has just blossomed," says Crystal. "He will tell me if he's hungry, if he's thirsty, he's telling me if he feels bad, what hurts. Where as six months ago, it was a guess and check game. It was, he's fussy if he's hungry."
Just three months ago, Drew was barely speaking, mostly shaking his head yes and no for a response and barely interacting with others.
Kelly Dora has been Drew's behavioral therapist since he was three and he admits there are certain aspects of autism that therapist, teachers, or parents can't increase like speech and just plain awareness of the world, which he credits to the trial drug.
"It's so obvious when you work with children with Autism and how desperately they are trying to communicate, it's just trapped," says Dora.
In three months, memantine has brought back a new Drew, full of personality.
There are at least four other students in Warrick County on the trial drug who are not apart of the study. But because of Drew's success, they are trying it out and Drew will continue the medicine even after the study is over with.