By Steve Elliott
Kalel Santiago of Puerto Rico is just 9 years old, but he hasn't had an easy nine years. At just 10 months old, he was diagnosed with the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma, and he spent more than two years going through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. Then he was diagnosed with severe, non-verbal autism.
"While he was in the hospital, we noticed he didn't speak at all and had some behavior that wasn't right, like hand flapping, and walking on his toes," said Abiel Gomez Santiago, Kalel's father, from their home in Aguada, reports Beth Greenfield at Yahoo Parenting. "But we waited until he was 3 and cancer-free to look at his behavior."
Abiel and his wife Gladys did a crash course in autism. They tried various therapies, and eventually happened upon a treatment that would change their lives: hemp oil, rich in cannabidiol (CBD), which has anecdotally been shown to dramatically ease symptoms of both epilepsy and autism.
They began giving their son twice daily doses of a CBD oral spray, and the results were startling -- Kalel started talking in just two days after a lifetime of silence.
“He surprised us in school by saying the vowels, A-E-I-O-U. It was the first time ever,” Abiel said. “You can’t imagine the emotion we had, hearing Kalel’s voice for the first time. It was amazing.