Misunderstanding Tourette Syndrome

Sitting in class learning can be a challenging subjects such as science or mathematics experience at the best of times. So having someone who continually disrupts the class by either saying things or making noises or who can’t stop moving only makes it more difficult. If you are the teacher of the class, your patience will wearing thin very quickly with this sort of behavior in your classroom.

Now imagine that you are the child who is causing the disruption. Your classmates are pissed at you for preventing them from learning and therefore getting better grades. Your teacher glares at you, reprimands you, perhaps even sends you outside into the hall to complete your work. It isn’t as if you are causing a disruption on purpose, and with everyone’s reactions towards you causing more stress, you find yourself being more disruptive  This won’t just affect you in your school work but also your self esteem will suffer, something that no child should ever experience.

Welcome to the world of a Tourette Syndrome sufferer.

Tourette Syndrome is like any other mental health disorder, such as ADHD, OCD or depression. It is nothing that should be considered embarrassing  Sufferers do not choose to have the disorder anymore than a child might choose to have travel sickness.

Most people, when it is explained that someone has Tourette Syndrome, will be understanding and supportive although some, who perhaps do not completely understand the the issue, may not.

Tourette Syndrome is known more for one of its rarer symptom, loud, unexpected and uncalled for rude or curse words, than for anything else. It is this popular misconception that can affect many sufferers in their decision to tell people about their disorder.

Just because someone has Tourettes doesn’t mean they cannot be successful, famous or talented. Just ask American soccer goalkeeper Tim Howard or actor Dan Akroyd. One of the richest men in the mid 1900’s, Howard Hughes also had Tourettes. So what exactly is Tourette Syndrome?

In the late 1800’s a French neurologist, Dr Georges Gilles de la Tourette, first described the involuntary tics and utterances that a noblewoman named Marquise du Dampierre exhibited.

Since then, the syndrome has been investigated and explored and while there is more known about it, there is still no known cure for it, or a clear explanation of why it occurs.

The motor, or physical tics can be as slight as eye blinking or as extreme as physically jumping around. Although the common perception is of uncontrollable swearing, very few sufferers actually have Coprolalia which causes such outbursts. Most sufferers simply make throat clearing noises or tongue clicks. Some will repeat a heard phrase.

The symptoms of Tourette Syndrome, or TS, usually begin to exhibit themselves during childhood. During adolescence, the symptoms are heightened but the majority of sufferers find that they diminish as they get older. Regrettably a small percentage do not see their tics ever disappearing.

While there is no known cure, sufferers can learn to control or delay the tics. A tic is something like a sneeze. It builds up, can be unavoidable but with concentration can be delayed until the person is in a private or secluded place.

As if Tourettes wasn’t enough, most also suffer other neurological disorders such as OCD or ADHD.

As we attempt to open up about depression and other mental health issues, we should not forget about those who live with Tourettes. They need as much understanding and support as those with other issues, and it is time that the perception of the disorder stopped being the public explicit outbursts and became more the whole thing. And just because someone has Tourettes, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it! http://www.touretteshero.com/

http://www.tourette.ca/index.php

http://www.cpri.ca/content/home/home.aspx

http://www.kidsmentalhealth.ca/

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tourette/detail_tourette.htm

http://www.mentalhealth4kids.ca/

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