Story of Healing
“If sharing Laiken’s story encourages other parents to see that this disorder does not limit their child’s potential, we’re all in.”
That’s how Laiken Hindsman’s aunt, Misti Dempsey, opened a conversation about Laiken’s story. Laiken and Misti live in Vivian, LA, located in Caddo Parish. Laiken was born with a genetic disorder called Argininosuccinic aciduria, more commonly referred to as an ASL deficiency.
After Laiken came home from the local hospital a few days after she was born, the hospital contacted her parents saying that her lab reports showed signs of abnormalities. After being diagnosed with ASL, her prognosis was not good.
Laiken’s ASL deficiency requires a strict protein-limited diet and regular medication. Laiken came into her Aunt Misti’s care when she was 20 months old, and when Laiken was about two years old, she began receiving occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy services and attending a pediatric day care center every day. This comprehensive care plan resulted in remarkable progress for Laiken and she is now a thriving five-year-old in kindergarten.
“Laiken is able to attend kindergarten with no cognitive issues,” shared Misti. She loves to swim, ride horses and she loves playing with her siblings. She’s a very active little girl and is extremely social and friendly. When you first meet her, you would never know she’s battling a disorder.”
Laiken and her family visit a Children’s Hospital New Orleans clinic in Metairie every six months to monitor her progress, and she continues to receive therapy at school, and gets her blood drawn monthly to monitor her protein levels. When Laiken first came to Children’s Hospital New Orleans, Misti remembered that the Genetics care team really helped her and Laiken’s family become as educated as possible about ASL and provided numerous resources to the family.
Laiken started her journey at Children’s Hospital with Dr. Michael Marble and now sees Dr. Hans Andersson regularly. “The doctors at Children’s were wonderful,” recalled Misti. “They have been very encouraging about Laiken’s progress and I feel like I can call them directly with questions we have. If I don’t get in touch with them right away, they always call me back.”
Laiken’s consistent diet and medication routine allow her to live life pretty freely. It’s not easy, by any means, though. Misti shared that it truly takes a village to take care of Laiken. Misti shared that many family members play a role in Laiken’s life and her day-to-day care, including Stephanie Glenn, and Grammy and Pawpaw, Laiken’s great grandparents.
“She’s truly a special little girl,” said Misti. “She never meets a stranger and has such a kind spirit that you can pick up on very quickly. I believe what makes her so special is that she’s very loving. She sees everyone at her level, no matter what they look like.”
Explore more information about the Children’s Hospital New Orleans Genetics team here.