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Surgery reduces autism-related screaming
Health

Surgery reduces autism-related screaming

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Vicki Hanegraaf’s 16-year-old son has autism and screamed louder than a lawn mower more than 1,000 times a day until he had surgery on his vocal cords at UW Hospital.

“It was absolutely horrific,” Hanegraaf, of Appleton, said in a UW Health news release. “We couldn’t go anywhere.”

Dr. Seth Dailey, a UW Health surgeon and otolaryngologist, separated the cartilage in Kade Hanegraaf’s vocal cords, creating a larger gap for air flow and limiting the sound power.

Since the 2011 surgery, which is reversible, Kade has screamed 90 percent less often and at half the volume.

His mother said he still has a full voice and continues to makes noises like others with severe autism sometimes do.

“But we can handle him at a restaurant or in public now,” she said.

She and her husband, Kevin, have another son, Kyle, with autism. He and Kade are twins.

Botox can reduce vocal tics by paralyzing vocal cords. But Botox injections provided only partial relief for the Hanegraafs, so they tried the surgery.

Dailey, who has a child with autism, reported on Kade’s surgery in the March edition of the Journal of Voice.

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Related to this story

Talk About Curing Autism, or TACA, a national group that helps families affected by autism, is holding a conference in Madison Friday and Saturday on topics ranging from experimental tests for autism to preparing older children with the condition to live on their own.

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