Dysgenesis of the corpus collosum was the medical diagnosis Janna and Dan Stahl of Somonauk received for their son, Wyatt, 5, when he was just a few months old. An innocent accident led to that diagnosis.
Janna Stahl explained that, like most parents of babies, particularly twins like Wyatt and Lane, they were exhausted. They also had an older son at home, Owen.
Dan Stahl had fed and rocked Wyatt back to sleep sitting in an easy chair and then fell asleep himself. As he relaxed, Wyatt slid from his arms to the floor.
The Stahls rushed their crying baby to Valley West Community Hospital to get him checked out. He had a CT scan, he calmed down, he nursed.
“We felt everything was OK,” Janna Stahl said. They were a little frightened, though, when the doctor suggested they follow up with a pediatric neurologist at Central DuPage Hospital.
At 4 months old, Wyatt was diagnosed with corpus collosum disorder.
In simple terms, the corpus collosum is the connective pathway between the left and right sides of the brain. Dysgenesis means that the corpus collosum developed, but in an incomplete or malformed way.
“Doctors don’t know what causes it,” Janna said, although she remembers experiencing severe morning sickness when she was pregnant with the twins.
“The doctor said one third of people diagnosed are fine and have no symptoms, no red flags. One third have seizure disorders. One third experience developmental delays.
“Wyatt is in the last category, but he is seizure-free, so far,” Janna said.
His twin brother was evaluated as well, and is developing normally, giving them benchmarks for Wyatt.
“Because we had a diagnosis at a very early age, we were able to provide early intervention therapies,” Janna Stahl said. Those therapies include physical, occupational and speech.
“We’ve taken a very proactive approach, working with him and trying to get him the right type of toys.”
Although Wyatt is nonverbal, he has a small computerized “talker” that speaks for him.
Because he is unable to read yet, the programmable buttons show pictures for various foods, family members and more. He is able to push the buttons in the right order to create sentences which the machine speaks.
Between Wyatt’s second and third birthdays, he also was diagnosed with autism.
“CCD is a medical diagnosis; autism is behavioral,” Dan Stahl clarified. “The doctor thought the autism diagnosis would be beneficial in getting needed services.”
“Physically, he’s very healthy,” Janna Stahl said. “The challenge is that there’s no cure.”
Even so, with continuing therapies and educational opportunities, Janna Stahl said there’s no reason Wyatt can’t have the same quality of life as his brothers.
“I’ve read about a young man attending college with a ‘talker,’ ” she said.
Providing Wyatt with the therapies to give him the tools to succeed comes with a price, and the Stahls admit their resources are running low.
“I’ve become an expert on dealing with insurance companies,” Janna Stahl said.
To assist the family, Rambo’s Bar and Grill’s 10th anniversary party also will serve as a benefit for Wyatt. From noon to 5 p.m., Sept. 1, $10 will get food and music.
Donations are welcome, and patrons are invited to participate in raffles, a 50/50 and a silent auction. Family members also are selling homemade apple pies for $10 each. To preorder pies, call Gina at 630-383-6209.
“We do a benefit a couple of times a year,” said Rambo’s owner Gary Westlake.
“I’ve known Dan for a long time; he plays on our Rambo’s softball team. We decided to do this for Wyatt because the family needs a little help,” Westlake said.
Wyatt’s World Benefit
When: Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1
Where: Rambo’s Bar and Grill, 140 W. Market St. (U.S. Route 34), Somonauk
Cost: $10 for food and music to benefit 5-year-old Wyatt Stahl
More information: Call Janna Stahl, 815-498-3192