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Life's A Twitch! Celebrating 15 years.
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Brian R.

Brian has been a student at Cornell University and wrote something about TS (called an "Advocacy Document") to give to all of his professors (this is what teachers are called at university) so that they will understand him better and know how to treat him. He kindly shares it with you below so that you might use what he has written to hand out to YOUR teachers too......

What is Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a nervous system disorder characterized by involuntary, rapid, sudden movements or vocalizations called tics that occur repeatedly in the same way. TS is not degenerative in any way; it is not a sign of mental illness; it is not caused by poor parenting or abuse of any kind. TS usually begins in childhood and often continues throughout life; it is found across all ethnic backgrounds and at all socioeconomic levels; although socially awkward its expression is largely cosmetic.


About Tics

The expression of tics is unlimited and unique to each person. The compulsion to tic can range from barely noticeable to irresistible. Tics occur many times a day usually in bouts waxing and waning in their severity and periodically changing in frequency, type and location.

Examples can be: eye blinking; facial grimaces; head jerking; shoulder shrugging; snapping; tongue clicking; throat clearing; touching other people or objects; self-injurious actions; mimicking someoneís mannerisms; repeating a sound or word just heard; out of context gestures words phrases or sentences which sometimes may be socially inappropriate.

Tic Triggers: While many tics come out of seemingly nowhere even from the perspective of the ticcer, others clearly are incited. Observing someone tic or have tic-like behavior, seeing the actual tic word or something else associated with specific tics, or remembering memories particularly uncomfortable ones all can evoke tics.

Environment: Generally, the compulsion for a specific tic decreases as itís inappropriateness in that particular environment increases. In most situations where it would be socially awkward for certain tics people with TS will not have any. If they do tic, it will be the ones that are least disturbing. However as soon as they move to a less restricted environment where they are alone or with people they feel comfortable ticcing with, they will often experience a major tic bout including the more offensive tics they couldnít do earlier.

General Factors that affect Tics: Stress, boredom, positive or negative emotional excitement, fatigue, Central Nervous System stimulants like sugar and caffeine, being told to stop, trying to repress them or lack of understanding from others all can significantly increase tics. Being in a stimulating or new environment, involved in conversation, meeting new people, concentrating on a task, relaxation, and acceptance by others all can significantly decrease tics.


What I ask of you.

Now that I understand what TS is, I accept it and itís not a big deal to me. Most of the time I will be fine, but sometimes it can be overwhelming so when I do tic please ignore them as they are harmless. However if I offend you or you canít handle seeing me this way then talk directly to me about it and I will try to accommodate you by redirecting the tic into something less threatening to your sensibilities, but note that I will not ostracize myself because of this. If you have any other concerns or questions please talk directly to me.

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