Bartender dad hosts fundraiser for son with rare brain disorder - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Bartender dad hosts fundraiser for son with rare brain disorder

Dakota has a rare brain disorder known as LKS/ (WOIO) Dakota has a rare brain disorder known as LKS/ (WOIO)
Rob, an elite bartender at the Barley House, put together a fundraiser to help his son attend speech therapy. (WOIO) Rob, an elite bartender at the Barley House, put together a fundraiser to help his son attend speech therapy. (WOIO)

Dakota Turek is like most 14 year olds. He loves to sit at home playing video games. But unlike most teenagers, his life has been touched by a rare medical disorder.

"When you have a child that loses his language, his ability to communicate. It's very hard," said Dakota's dad, Rob Turek. 

Landau Kleffner Syndrome, or LKS, is a seizure disorder that stops children from understanding language and impacts their ability to speak. Typically, it affects children between 3 and 7 years old.

"So you don't understand what people are saying to you and because it happens so young they start acting like they're deaf and then they lose their speech," said Dr. Max Wiznitzer with University Hospitals.

LKS stops children from understanding words. And that's what happened to Dakota.

"So they can hear the fire engine go by and turn to listen to the siren. But if you say the word fire engine to them, they have no clue what they're saying," said Dr. Wiznitzer. 

Dakota was diagnosed with LKS at age five. He also suffers with a mild form of autism and ADHD. Now, 14, there are signs of improvement.

"In his demeanor, his awareness and even his vocabulary.  He'll say a few more things.  He really can't pronounce them well," said Mr. Turek. 

Mr. Turek is a bartender at Barley House in Cleveland, known for mixing and pouring drinks with flair.

Turek put together a fund-raising effort at the bar tonight, featuring some of the flashiest bartenders from around the country. 

He's trying to start a foundation to help families with children who have LKS and he wants to raise money for Dakota's speech-therapy.

Doctors say when properly diagnosed and treated, children can overcome LKS.

"I've had a handful of patients with the condition. All of them have done quite well," Dr. Wiznitzer said.  

There is hope. Dr. Wiznitzer said he's had LKS patients who've gone on to college. But some children are left with permanent language difficulties. A successful fund-raiser could help Dakota and maybe others. 

Like 19 Action News on Facebook for the latest news, weather, sports and giveaways.
Copyright 2014 WOIO. All rights reserved

Powered by Frankly