Amy and Andy Lutz: their autistic 13-year-old son, Jonah, was so aggressive that he broke a teacher's nose when he was in kindergarten. Trials of antipsychotics, antidepressants, stimulants and anti-convulsants failed to help, and he spent ten months in 2008 hospitalized at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Although he was stable upon discharge, within months his behaviors were as severe as ever. Jonah began ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) in March 2010, which virtually eliminated his rages, and he is now thriving at home and in school.
Michael Dinda: his autistic son John, now 17, was so self-injurious and disruptive that he had to be removed from the private school Michael co-founded in 2003 specifically to support him. After 35 disastrous medication trials and 16 months of deterioration at a residential treatment facility, John's behaviors were finally stabilized with ECT, and he is now happily back at home.
Michael Eisert: his autistic 15-year-old son, Greg, hit himself in the face with such force and frequency he detached his own retinas - and detached his right a second time, immediately following re-attachment surgery. Thirty-eight different medications failed to control his self-injury, and he spent much of his life in and out of hospitals - including almost a year at Kennedy Krieger, where ECT reduced his behaviors by 98%. Since his discharge in early 2010, Greg has been living at home - the longest uninterrupted period he's been home since he was five years old.
Dr. Lee Wachtel, Medical Advisor: Dr. Wachtel is the medical director of the Neurobehavioral Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, as well as a clinical instructor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She has published more than a dozen articles on the treatment of autism and catatonia.