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A mother has revealed her anguish after her teenage son's battle with 'childhood Alzheimer's' has robbed him of his ability to speak.
Levi Ormeroid, 19, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was a healthy toddler, able to ride a bike, colour in pictures, count to 10 and sing along to his favourite song Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield.
Sanfilippo - Syndrome - Mr - Ormeroid - Age
Yet, Sanfilippo Syndrome gradually robbed Mr Ormeroid, who has the mental age of an 18-month-old, of his ability to dress himself at age eight, hold a pencil at 10, eat solid foods at 11 and speak at 17.
Now when he hears his favourite tune, his eyes light up but he is unable to make a sound.
Mr - Ormeroid - Mother - Christi - Ormeroid
Mr Ormeroid's mother Christi Ormeroid, 43, who is his carer, said: 'He has this look in his eyes that he is mentally singing along. It's heartbreaking.
'This disease is robbing him and others from having a typical life.'
Mr - Ormeroid - Family - Research - Syndrome
Mr Ormeroid's family are speaking out to encourage more research into the syndrome and raise $10,000 towards the cause.
Sanfilippo Syndrome, which causes similar symptoms to Alzheimer's, affects one in 70,000 children in the US, with sufferers typically not living beyond 15.
'Everything you wish your kid could do is gone'
Speaking of her son's childhood, Ms Ormeroid, said: 'Levi was just like any other child. He was riding his bike, playing sports like soccer and he was potty trained.
'He - Speech - Sentences
'He was behind on his speech but was still talking in sentences.
'By the time he was four he had started losing his words slowly and was down to two-word sentences.
'Everybody - Boy - Girls
'Everybody said, "He's a boy, they learn slower than girls."
'I would tell myself I was overreacting but then the next day it was like, "Something isn't right."
Years - Tests - Appointments - Mr - Ormeroid
After six years of tests and appointments, Mr Ormeroid was finally diagnosed at 10 years old.
Ms Ormeroid, who lives with her husband Jason,...
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