Trey Blankenship


“When I was younger, I did not mind being alone. To try to make friends seemed more trouble that it was worth.” Those are the feelings often experienced by many diagnosed with autism. Trey Blankenship is just one young man who always felt like he “didn’t belong.”

“With Asperger’s comes naiveté and mean-spirited peers can easily take advantage, tease, or set them up to get into trouble, which happened often,” said Ann Jackson, Trey’s grandmother and primary caregiver. “He was the target of bullies, and although he has always had an extensive vocabulary, Trey would completely forget his words when he was teased or frustrated as a child.”

“Trey would give short and curt responses that came across rude and insincere,” said Tandra Toon, Trey’s research clinician at the Center for BrainHealth. “Through our social cognition research intervention, Trey was able to practice reading the social cues of others and build his awareness of how to respond.” 

After five weeks of intensive training at the Center for BrainHealth where he practiced real-life scenarios in a virtual world, Trey now has hope for a brighter future. “I have learned how to start a conversation and how to interact with others more effectively,” he said. “I feel more confident. I have hope that this research will not only help me, but that it will help other people like me.”

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