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17 years old
North Tustin, CA

Andrew was first diagnosed with autism, epilepsy, and global developmental delay at the age of two. It wasn’t until last summer, when Andrew was 16, that a new round of genetic testing revealed his SynGap1 diagnosis. Needless to say, it was a life-altering moment for our family, as we had been searching for our “why” for such a long time.

Andrew is now 17, and attends a specialized non-public school dedicated to providing students with autism and related disorders access to a robust, individualized education in a safe, compassionate, accommodating environment. 

Andrew has many interests, including bounce houses, the beach, swimming, watching YouTube videos and playing with his iPad, going to church, Disneyland, watching favorite scenes from Disney Pixar movies such as Monsters Inc and Cars, playing Little League Challenger baseball, going bowling, and spending time with his best friend in the whole world, his brother Ian. 

While Andrew does have verbal approximations, he does not talk in the traditional sense. However, Andrew utilizes a variety of low and high tech functional communication skills, including sign language, gesturing, pointing, using his speech device (Proloquo2go on a dedicated iPad) and other creative means of getting his point across, which we like to refer to Andrew’s Charades!” Recently Andrew began taking Epidiolex for his intractable epilepsy, and has been seizure free for two weeks! Woohoo!

Andrew is affectionate, funny, smart, loving, creative, and continues to grow in amazing ways. He brings such joy to everyone who knows him, and we are in awe of his unique perspective on the world. While his diagnoses often cause Andrew many challenges, he is our hero and we are so very proud of him!

– Jo (Mom)

Read Jo’s blog post about getting Andrew’s diagnosis here as well.