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Monday, March 16, 2009

Vanderbilt Study

On the drive south we stopped for a 4 hour visit to Vanderbilt University. We are participating in a genetic study on autism. David and I spent about 2 hours answering questions about Brennan while we watched Brennan through a 2-way mirror as he was being asked all sorts of things for 2 hours. Thomas spent this time playing games on the coordinator's computer.

Brennan really seemed to enjoy the experience - all sorts of "games" that would help the researchers in their study of how genes and environment play a role in autism. He of course has no issue talking to anyone for 2 hours and loved the attention I'm sure. If the researchers felt that Brennan was indeed somewhere on the spectrum, then we knew that the next step was to have blood drawn.

I'll never forget walking into the room to collect Brennan when we finished our questions. The lead researcher said, "Maybe you already know this but Brennan is really bright. I mean really, really bright." We just smiled - yes we know it and it's always funny to hear new therapists and psychologists after they've worked with Brennan a little while. He understands a lot more for his age than you might expect. Gotta love that.

Vanderbilt Hospital

The blood draw (or "blood shot" as Brennan was calling it) was just another fun experience in this fun city of Nashville, TN for our boys. We walked across campus to the hospital with Liz, one of the researchers. Watching the squirrels, checking out the beautiful crocuses coming up, fascinated by the beautiful stone buildings. And then our own hospital rooms with ADJUSTABLE BEDS and a remote control right there on the bed for you! It was all very exciting until the needle. It freaked them both out but they did well. After it was over they admitted it wasn't so bad and would do it again if they needed to. I was so proud of them - they took 5 tubes from each of us! Brennan's main concern is that they were going to take all of his.

Funniest moment, when the very patient nurse told Brennan that his body is always making blood. He said, "yes, I know, it's made in the bones." Surprised looks all around again.

Brennan pre-needle.

We were happy to participate in the study because we know that the best researchers who are devoting their lives to this still don't have the answers they need. We've read so much on autism (David especially) and know that the best thing we can do for Brennan is to help him navigate the world he's in. He's doing so well as he gets older - it's so worth those 5 tubes (which freaked me out a little too!)

Thomas ready for his turn.

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