Science project helps southeast Missouri family find diagnosis for son

Science project helps family find diagnosis

BERNIE, MO (KFVS) - A science project on a random genetic condition earned a Heartland student more than just a good grade. Her project helped a Heartland teacher get a diagnosis for her 3-year-old son.

“I will definitely start picking more random things for projects more often instead of stuff I already know about,” said Bernie High School student Taylor Anthony.

Anthony had no idea when she started her genetic disorder project that it would change someone’s life.

“He was the only embryo that took, so I call him my miracle of course,” said Jodi Smith.

She said her son, Jagger, is full of life and always on the move, but since he was a baby she knew something was wrong.

When she first took Jagger in, doctors told her they thought he had Failure to Thrive Syndrome.

“They kept on thinking he’s different but he’s making progress and at around age 3 they said you might want to start looking at Autism,” said Smith.

But when a neurologist observed him, they said he didn’t have Autism and Smith could get a genetic blood test done if she wanted.

“I had the test and I put it in my car and then I never thought about it because I didn’t want to think this was something hereditary,” said Smith.

About a month later, she got a call from a friend who teaches science at Bernie High School.

“She calls and says I think I know what Jagger has. Have you ever heard of Fragile X syndrome?” said Smith.

“I have never heard of Fragile X,” said Pamela Foster, a teacher at Bernie High School.

That’s when Smith sent in the genetic test.

“About 6 weeks later, we got a call that he had the full mutation for Fragile X syndrome,” she said.

Foster is glad she could show her students that what they do matters.

“We try to relate science to real life situations and in real life what we do might not make a difference in the world but this project actually was the world to one person,” said Foster.

“Knowing that my project helped someone means a lot,” said Anthony.

Smith said she’s glad to know what her son is dealing with on a daily basis and she wanted to make sure she thanked the student who did the project for changing their lives.

“My number one mission through this is to hopefully reach out to someone who hears this story and might say hey that sounds like my child,” said Smith.

Jagger and his family are going to Boston Children’s Hospital at the end of the month to learn more about his condition.

For more information on Fragile X Syndrome, click here.

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