Hormone could help children with autism


MACON COUNTY - A new study showed that the hormone Oxytocin could help children with autism. The drug, administered as a nasal spray, may improve social interactions. This study was based on 17 children ages eight to 16 who have mild autism. Some people were encouraged by the research; however, they were skeptical.

Still one family that spoke to WAND News said they'd be willing to try it.

Nathan Ison has a sense of humor. He has an obsession with maps.

"What's the capitol of Vermont?" his mother Jolene Ison asked. "Montpelier," he responded.

He also has severe autism.

"How old are you?" his father asks.

"18 years old," Nathan replied slowly.

But Nathan expressed himself more like a five or six year old.

"I think that's our biggest challenge," Jolene said.  "What are you feeling? What's going on inside of that little head."

His family has tried to manage his autism with medication.

"At first we were just trying everything," she said.

But nothing worked.

"Still, to this day, sitting down with him and working with him one on one is the best," Jolene said.

But if a new solution comes along, like Oxytocin, "Anything that will help improve his situation we are definitely interested in," Jolene said.

Questions still remain.

"It's promising but there's still nothing to really say it's a strong correlation," said Kathy Massey Director of Macon-Piatt Special Education District. "What they're doing is they're just researching the brain."

Each case is unique.

"It's never the same with any child," Massey explained. "That's what makes treatment so difficult, medically, because it's so different."

As for Nathan, for now, his treatment includes a healthy dose of support from his family.

Massey said that parents have tried other ways to manage their children's autism like dietary changes, altering food for allergic reactions for example, but as for medical treatments, it's different for everyone.

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