Tyler Richard, a 14 year old from Nevada, spent the first 13 years of his life dealing with symptoms from his autism and epilepsy.
Going through thousands of seizures every week, some of which were small and some led to his mother, Toni Richard, having to personally give him CPR before calling 911. The dozen medications that he was prescribed were unable to control the negative effects his illnesses had on him.
With the lack of sleep caused by his seizures, Tyler had constant outbursts and dark circles under his eyes. Toni Richard, a teacher at truckee Meadows COmmunity College, spoke about what it was like with Tyler never being able to really sleep:
“In 13 years he maybe slept through the night 50 times. It was like having a newborn forever.”
Toni and Tyler Richard. (Photo: Siobhan McAndrew)
Living in fear that Tyler might run away from the home at night, Toni became accustomed to locking the picket fence surrounding their home, and sometimes she stayed up all night making sure Tyler wouldn’t hurt himself. On occasion, Toni reported that she would even rent a hotel room for a night, having Tyler sleep in the bed while she slept in the hallway hoping for a few peaceful hours of rest.
As his seizures continued to worsen, including causing the right side of his face to go into paralysis and sag, Toni got scared and was looking for a way to help her son.
In 2014, the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center suggested medical marijuana to help Tyler with his seizures and to help him sleep. After hearing about multiple instances where it has helped children, Toni thought it could be beneficial for her son. She told the Reno Gazette Journal,
“The first night we tried it he slept through the night.”
With the help of cannabis oil, Tyler has slept much better, has fewer outbursts and is doing better in school.
The issue Toni has had throughout this process hasn’t been with cannabis directly, but in the manner that she is forced to learn, all on her own, about the best ways to treat her son. Whether it is the appropriate dosage, where to purchase it, or what strain to buy, she has been on her own.
Krista Colletti, a Nevada pediatrician, shared their opinions on medical marijuana during the Nevada disability Conference in July:
“It is a medication we need to know more about,”
Colletti pointed out that families often times are forced to travel to seek advice from specialists on the topic and must deal with issues of federal law if they must resort to bringing cannabis back over state lines to get the proper type and amount.
With the success that children such as Tyler have had with medical marijuana, it seems that it will become a more popular choice for parents trying to help their kids.