Carson Peal lives with Asperger syndrome and is thriving, thanks to The Texas Child Study Center at Dell Children's Medical Center.
Gail and Michael Peal appreciate unique qualities about their 15 year-old son, Carson, who has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. He struggles to communicate his thoughts and has experienced a delay in growth and development, but despite his challenges, Carson thrives as a ninth grader and earns top grades.
Gail remembers little things about Carson as a baby, which left her uneasy. "He had problems breastfeeding and would not gaze into my eyes," she says. "By age two, he would make sounds, but didn't talk. Despite these developmental problems, Carson has exhibited real strengths: at age three, he started to read. He thinks outside the box and can solve problems because of his unique view of the world. His teachers and therapists discovered a spark deep down inside and by appreciating Carson's uniqueness, they are encouraging him to reach his fullest potential."
Carson enjoys building things and is fascinated with robotics. He has discovered the djimbe drum and a love of percussion. He has a remarkable sense of humor and enjoys comedy and making up his own jokes. He considers himself to be just like anyone else and says, "I think I'm just a nice, cool, smart kid. I see myself going to college, majoring in graphic design or maybe doing work in the video game industry. I want to get married and have kids."
Thanks to guidance and support from caring child psychiatrists and psychologists and his parents, Carson has made great strides. "He is happy and very affectionate," says Gail. "We've learned to take joy in the simple things and his achievements."
Texas Child Study Center – Funding Priorities
Mental illness is treatable and recovery is possible, thanks to The Texas Child Study Center at Dell Children's Medical Center.
The Texas Child Study Center at Dell Children's Medical Center gives all Central Texas children access to quality mental health care so they can live their lives to the fullest.
The prevalence of mental health disorders among youth in Central Texas, and the rest of the nation, represents a true public health crisis. Ten to twenty percent of children and adolescents have a diagnosable mental health disorder, including children or teenagers with depression, autism spectrum, anxiety disorders, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), learning disabilities, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictions
The exact causes of pediatric mental illness are unknown, but The Texas Child Study Center, a collaborative project between Dell Children's and The University of Texas Educational Psychology Department, enhances the abilities of pediatric mental health professionals to offer effective treatments and bring them closer to the answers.
You can bring happiness to children with mental health disorders with a gift to The Texas Child Study Center. For more information on giving opportunities, contact Children's Medical Center Foundation of Central Texas at (512) 324-0170.
For more information about The Texas Child Study Center, contact (512) 324-3315.