I saw this article on Autism Speaks' Facebook page this morning. I know Autism Speaks isn't well liked by everyone, but in the article you can see they took great care in making sure the results are authentic and the statements true. You can find the article on the study here:
A Pill to Improve Communications Skills?
Beta-blockers are a type of pill that lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Funny, but true: years ago a noted common side effect of taking the beta-blocker was the absence of erectile dysfunction in those men who had previously had that problem. Yes, that is how we got Viagra. Sometimes a helpful drug is discovered by evaluating the common side effects.
Beta-blockers work by limiting a powerful hormone called noradrenaline that is produced in stressful situations. They block the stress hormone, thereby lowering heart rate and blood pressure. This new study has found that blocking this hormone can possibly improve communication skills in teens and young adults that are verbally limited. Let's break that all down to better understand:
1. A pill is commonly used to block a stress hormone
2. People with Autism have a difficult and "stressful" time with communication
3. Taking the pill could possibly reduce that stress in the brain
4. Less stress = better communication
I really pray that this study will be taken seriously and begin larger studies and possibly even clinical trials. Since Boog is totally non-verbal, I have spent many hours crying and praying someone would find something that would chemically assist him in speech. Some children with chemical imbalances in their brains take medications for things like anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and more and these children live better lives because of those medications.
I do think eventually there will be a medication that when taken will assist in the ease of communication in people with Autism. What breaks my heart is that we are years away from that and my son is six. I write this blog to hopefully help anyone that has Autism or cares for someone with it. I write about things that work and don't work to hopefully save someone time or trying something new that works. But would I trade that for science being 50 years ahead of where we are now in Autism studies? You're damn right I would in a second.
Some days are great, some good and some days my heart still aches for my son to speak. I still cry (I am right now, actually) because I'm selfish. I want to hear my son say "Mommy" without sign language or a communication device. I am so afraid his limited communication will effect his adult life. I don't know how he will be able to fall in love, get married or have children if he doesn't have speech and has limited communication.
Again, I'm being selfish. This is selfish because I have the happiest child you have ever seen. He constantly has a smile on his face. He's a good person. He is respectful and helpful. There are so many ways I am so proud of him. He has gifts other children don't have. He doesn't have the behavioral problems many children with Autism have. He's a sweet, sweet boy. And most days I focus on that like I should. But some days all I can think is that I would give every penny, every material object I own, to give my son speech. This happens to be one of those days.
Let's end on a positive note here. We have a study that shows promise and it will get noticed. Pharmaceutical companies like to make money and they know Autism is rising every year. This could be the start of a game-changer as big as early intervention or ABA therapy. That's what we need to take from this study. Hope.