Health Plus: Angelman Syndrome, Part One - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Angelman Syndrome, Part One

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If your child was diagnosed with a rare condition, how to treat it would be a top concern.

In Health Plus, one local mom is getting her child the help she needs close to home.

Brandy Stewart knew something wasn't right with her third pregnancy.

"I had a feeling as a mom something was wrong with the pregnancy."

Her daughter, Tamara, is now 3-years-old and was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome.

The neuro-genetic disorder occurs in one in 15,000 live births.

"They did a genetic testing on her and it came back that her 15th chromosome was completely deleted and that's how we found out she had Angelman Syndrome," says Brandy.

Physical therapist Jamie VanErem has been working with Tamara off and on for two years at Covenant Medical Center.

"It effects them development-wise significantly. It also can cause some seizures at times. It can cause some problems with brain growth. A lot of the children have smaller head sizes. And they don't have a lot of communication. A lot of them are receptive and can understand what you're saying but a lot of them cannot express," she says.

The Waterloo girl and her family come to Covenant weekly for therapy.

Her progress has been remarkable.

"When you get a child who struggled for 1 1/2 years just to take a step, and they take that one step, it's amazing," says her physical therapist.

"I am really happy to see her walk because I had been told that she might not walk until she was 5... or she might not walk at all," says Tamara's mom.

There is no cure for Angelman's but her therapist says Tamara can expect to have a long and happy life. 

Tara Thomas

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