September 23, 2021

Local teacher has Governor declare Awareness Day for son with rare syndrome

Laura Barido, Alex, and Shawn Barido are pictured above with the Proclamation from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal

Laura Barido, Alex, and Shawn Barido are pictured above with the Proclamation from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal proclaiming Alex’s birthday as Pitt-Hopkins Awareness Day

(Franklin, GA) — The son of a Heard High School teacher has inspired Governor Deal to proclaim today, November 3, 2016 as Georgia Pitt-Hopkins Awareness Day.

Today is also Alexander Barido’s second birthday, so his mom and dad, Laura and Shawn, decided to help raise awareness for the very rare condition.

Laura Barido is in her 10th year as a science teacher at HHS. Pitt-Hopkins is a very rare genetic disorder caused by a deletion or mutation of the TCF4 gene on chromosome 18, and is considered an autism spectrum disorder.

Individuals with Pitt-Hopkins generally have cognitive impairment, developmental delay, breathing problems, gastrointestinal problems, are non-verbal, and nearly half have seizures.

Despite the daily challenges he faces, Alexander’s mom says he is a very special child who enjoys many activities.

“Alex is a very happy, curious, and loving little guy. He loves music, playing with his dog Opie, being read to, and playing games with mom and dad,” says Barido.

“He isn’t able to sit-up without support yet, and cannot walk or talk yet, but that doesn’t stop him from trying. He is an inspiration and blessing to all who meet him, and we hope that by spreading the word about Pitt-Hopkins we can continue to raise awareness and generate more support for research.”

2-year-old Alex Barido

2-year-old Alex Barido

The Pitt-Hopkins Research Foundation has awarded grants to several researchers who have already made some breakthroughs in treatments for Pitt-Hopkins.

To learn more, people can visit the Pitt-Hopkins Research Foundation website at

There are only about 350 diagnosed cases of Pitt-Hopkins in the United States with only four in the State of Georgia.

According to the Pitt Hopkins Foundation, there are approximately 500 cases worldwide but the syndrome is likely under-diagnosed.

The condition may have been shared by an 18th-century boy thought to have inspired author J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan” — making the beloved character the default poster child for kids with Pitt-Hopkins everywhere.


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