Tony's Fight

Tony’s Story
     Finding help for adults on the Autism Spectrum is very difficult if you don’t have a big bank account.  My son Tony is on the high functioning side of the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  He also has Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD). Tony was mild tempered and lovable as a child.  He loved airplanes, plants and drawing.  He was hardworking in school and making good grades is what he strived to do.  He had the normal quirkiness of someone on the Autism Spectrum, but for the most part he was a happy.
When Tony was 11 years old, I was told by a doctor not to expect him to go to college or pretty much amount to anything in life (that’s how I took it).  Tony proved him wrong.  In the 11thgrade Tony was accepted into a program called “Middle College High School” with the Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Virginia.  He took college courses and high school classes in the 11thand 12thgrades.  He even took Vocational –technical classes in Horticulture even though he didn’t need the credit.  He took it because he loved plants.  When Tony graduated from high school he had 37 semester credits towards his college degree. He got his driver’s license and was well on his way to a great future.  In 2008, Tony entered college at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 2012.
     Over the years Tony had been given different kinds of medications and saw many different doctors and therapists.  In the last year of college Tony became very anxious about graduating and concerned about his grades.  That was the first time he was hospitalized and the beginning of many hospitalizations.  Tony was put on many medications by doctors that had very bad side effects on him.  He became very aggressive and his whole personality changed.  I told the doctor about the change in his behavior but instead of looking at the side effects from the medications he was on, he added more medications.  At one time Tony was on 7 different medications. Tony also complained of headaches and numbness in his fingers.  During this time I became very afraid of my son.  He kicked in my front and back doors and he also kicked in my bedroom door. I had never seen him like that before and he hasn’t been the same since then. 
     Tony’s graduation from college was bitter sweet.  On the day of his graduation, I had a protective order against him but nothing would keep me away from seeing him graduate! Tony was late walking into the graduation, his gown and clothes was disheveled and I could tell he was agitated, nervous, and was not himself.  I knew a big part of it was all of the medication he was on.  It was such a hurting thing to see my son in that condition.
Tony has been diagnosed with many different conditions such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective, bipolar disorder, mood disorder, psychosis, and many others.  Tony has Attention Deficient Disorder, which means he has a low production of the neurotransmitter dopamine.  He is diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and was put on the anti-psychotic medication Invega Sustenna.  At the time I didn’t know that anti-psychotic medications stifled dopamine production.  The medication he was taking for the ADD boosted his dopamine levels and helped him to focus and concentrate but the anti-psychotic medication made him feel flat and down. It was the effect of being given uppers and then downers.  Because of this Tony became addicted to the Adderall.  I kept telling the doctor’s my concerns about Tony’s lack of energy and that it seems he was not happy like he used to be.
     My son has been given so many medications by doctors who don’t know how to treat people on with ASD.  They don’t understand that people with ASD brain is wired different from other people and cannot be treated like someone with a Mental Illness.  One doctor gave prescribed Tony 240 50mg pills (a month) of the Ultram medication, which is used for pain.  He gave it to him for agitation.  This has caused Tony to become addicted to opioids as well as stimulants.  I took Tony to the Norfolk Community Services Board (NCSB) to get help for his dependency. Tony was coming off of the Invega medication and was having bad side effects.  He was aggressive and the only thing that helped him was the Vyvanse medication he needed for ADD.  The NCSB threw my son’s medication away and left him with nothing.  Tony almost drowned in Virginia Beach.  He now has a record that he shouldn’t have.  My son is not the positive person he once was.  If you ask him a question it seems like it’s painful for him to hear or respond to.  He doesn’t watch television anymore, he doesn’t take interest in anything and that includes his beloved plants. 
I’ve been trying to put him in a treatment center but I cannot find one that treat people on the Autism Spectrum that take the three medical insurances he has.  They either take a certain kind of insurance, they don’t take Medicare or Tricare or they don’t take insurance at all. 
Please help me get help for my son and bring light to the lack of help for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  My son hasn’t done anything to deserve what has happened to him.  He simply took the medications the doctors gave him.  He is a victim of doctors who has used him as a “guinea pig” and pumped medications down his throat without caring how he is affected.
I implore of you to please donate to my son’s Go Fund Me request so one day Tony will be able to tell his story and bring light to this situation that affect so many others.
Sherita Martin
Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


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Tonys Fight 
Norfolk, VA
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