Tourette Syndrome

When people hear of Tourette Syndrome or “Tourette’s”, many instantly think of kids swearing and getting away with it.

Recently, I was given the honour of being chosen as the National Committee Chair of the Youth Committee of the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada. This is a position I care much about and I hope to achieve great things in my role along with my great team.

To clarify, Tourette is a neurological disorder where the person has uncontrollable motor and vocal tics. These tics come in many forms such as throat clearing, eye blinking, scratching, and involuntary noises to name a few. Tourette in many cases also comes with ADHD and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as well.

Click here for a more detailed description on Tourette Syndrome

I personally do not have Tourette Syndrome.

I first came involved with Tourette Syndrome when I worked at a wilderness camp in Alberta. We got surprised by our boss when we found out that we were going to have a one week camp for kids with Tourette. I also found out that I was going to be in charge of evening activities and night duty for the week.

Like most people, I instantly thought of what the media taught me about Tourette. I thought that I was going to have a whole bunch of kids who swear a lot. I quickly came to discover that the media isn’t exactly true in their teachings on Tourette Syndrome.

The camp started and my partner quit on the first morning of the camp, however I loved the whole experience and came to realize that these were just normal kids. The week turned out to be my best week of summer camp; the one I thoroughly enjoyed. It was also the week in which I became interested in becoming an occupational therapist after meeting a great one who came to assist with the camp.

Afterwards, I joined the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada and even ran for the Board of Directors. That is when I was asked if I wanted to join the Youth Committee and eventually became Chair.

It has become a personal goal of mine to educate as many people as possible about Tourette Syndrome and hopefully see the end of the stereotypes involved, especially since only around 10% of all people with Tourette have the one in which they swear.

Tourette is a great example on the influence of the media and how stereotypes are formed. I encourage everyone to learn more about Tourette and help end the stereotypes.

Heat Increases Stupidity

Recently in Abbotsford, British Columbia close to where I live, a story appeared in the news about a father who left his two young children in his van while he went to the bar at a local fair. I don’t think I have to tell anyone here that this is not something you should do. Any person with even half a mind should be able to figure out that you do not leave your children unattended in a car.

ABBOTSFORD NEWS: Infants found locked in van while father drinks at bar (including video)

Now if that is not stupid enough for you all, here is a little more background information. right now the Fraser Valley region of British Columbia is going through a heat wave with temperatures ranging from 25c to 45c daily. Second fact, the father left the windows rolled up so there was NO air flow at all through the van.

Now even though it was 1am when the children was found (which I feel stupid saying “even though” since which idiot leaves his children in a van at 1am much less in the daytime), it was still around 20c to 25c outside that night and we all know that number was probably closer to 30c in the hot van with no air flow.

The children, aged four months and two years were taken by Child Protective Services for the time being were checked out by paramedics and found to be dehydrated. The video attached to the news article is particularly heart-wrenching as you see the young child wailing.

What really makes me mad is that the father was released from police custody, which is not necessaryly the fault of the police as much as our justice system. Right now the charges are pending on the father and they are still investigating.

As we have no information on the mother, and she may have just married an idiot, I am hoping the Ministry of Children and Family Development (Child Protective Services) will look into the mother and if she is fit to take full custody of the children. If not, I hope a suitable family is found for the children.

The only “good” sight of the video on the Abbotsford Times website was seeing the father in the back of the police car sweating his face off. I hope the police forgot to put on the air conditioner so the man knows how his kids felt.

Infants found locked in van while father drinks at bar

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  • frolickingprincess 1 hour ago

    Stop blaming the mother; the comments reek of misogyny. This horrible situation is the father’s responsibility. It was he that chose a night at the “Fat Pig Saloon” (only in Abbotsford would there be such a bar) over his children. He is the one who is subject to a criminal investigation.
  • clearlyc 2 hours ago

    if their was actually evidence that the man was in the bar and drunk why wasnt he charged? as far as i know he was their for an emergency and to let others in the bar be acknowleged of it! the children were not left in the car for hours and the man was not intoxicated. If he had been drunk driving charges would of applied. I also heard the children had been taken to hospital but were not even seen by a doctor because their was no cause of concern for dehydration. Clearly the news takes the first bit of info and does not receive the whole story i hope that the children are back with the mother as soon as possible
  • cmbell 3 hours ago

    I have two kids around the same ages, and it just kills me to hear this story.
    Children in general are so vulnerable and depend totally and completely on their parents to care for them, and this is what they do?! I can only imagine what is happening behind closed doors.
    So sad, and makes me angry and terrified for those children and their future.
  • neener26 10 hours ago

    This just breaks my heart. I have a 4-month-old and could never, ever imagine putting him in that kind of danger. This man is a disgrace and should never be allowed to see these children again. He should be punished immensely. I pray their mother is nothing like him and that they both realize he could have killed their two little boys. How sad is it that alcohol and partying can become more important than your own children.
  • MrsSandford 11 hours ago

    I’m also guessing the mother wasn’t too concerned with the children’s safety. No calls to police. At that time of night/morning if my kids were still out with Daddy I’d be flipping out and everyone would have been alerted just in case of an accident or something.
    Not all baby’s are breast-fed BUT formula would not have kept in a warm van (I believe it only lasts an hour in the best of conditions) What if that baby had choked? The dangers of a baby’s head slumping down in a car seat and cutting off the windpipe are there as well (that’s why they warn you not to leave a baby to sleep in one)
    And for the record even when I just pop over to pay for gas… I TAKE MY KIDS WITH ME. The risk is too great imo. Someone could break in, hit the vehicle, anything.
  • heidi2009 14 hours ago

    What a piece of garbage this guy is. I hope his wife/the mother is not as sub-human (where was she that the children were left with this trash) The infant could have died! You know you have a psychological & sociopathic problem when you leave your children like this. What arrogance & selfishness. There were so many horrible things that could have happened.

    Take the children away from him, he does not love them, he loves himself too much. He’s going to say sorry and plead with the judge, they will slap him on the wrist and someday he’ll do the same thing or the children will be in a similar situation where they are put at enormous risk. That little baby needs breast milk on demand, it’s his only nutrient. He can only scream (as you heard on the video) to tell you he is hungry, dehydrated, afraid confused, wants his mother and is uncomfortable sitting in his soiled diaper. WHERE WAS HIS MOTHER!!!??? The poor little 2 year old???, just breaks my heart.

    Let the Dad sit in 28-34 degree weather in a hot van without food for a few days, nor water nor anyone there to care about his safety!

    I want to know about this family, they are obviously too young, horrible and stupid! to have children.

    I am furious and think he’s trash. No bleeding heart for me. Thank God that woman overheard him. He should be charged with child endangerment, child abandonment & assault.

  • dscofield 16 hours ago

    Where was the mother and why were the chilldren not returned to her care pending a ministry investigation? I feel for those children, especially the eldest who has already bonded with his parents….no matter how bad they were ….he surely loves them
  • generic3 16 hours ago

    The guy was drinking in a bar buut noiit charged with care and control of MV so he must not have been in the bar long and was on his way back. Now was this just poor police work, if they had let him get in the car or see him with the keys why wasn’t he investigated for drunk driving charges? Although I don’t think this is smart ; how many people have left their kids in the car to go into a 7-11 to get ad drink so what is the difference?
  • disgusted1812 14 hours ago

    The kids were hungry, dehydrated, soaked with sweat and wearing soiled diapers. They had been neglected for quite a while, and presumably if he had been there long enough for a woman to hear him say that he left his kids in the car and inform the police he had been there for some time. And, not that condoning this either, but the parents who leave their kids in the car to go into 7-11 usually don’t leave them long enough for dehydration to kick in.

    Since you obviously don’t get it, I’m very glad that you aren’t my parent, and I worry for any children that you may have.

  • J_DUB 17 hours ago

    I have a great idea ! Leave this loser low life in the back of the cop car until his court date. It’s bad enough to leave the kids unattended,but to leave them locked in a car ? Not to mention drinking then driving with the kids in the car. What a complete waste of life. I hope someone finds the low life and gives him what he deserves,,, a severe ass kicking ! As if Abbotsford doesn’t have a bad enough rap without having this to add to it.
  • vickiejobe 23 hours ago

    So much more needs to be done to ensure that children are protected from people like this. The present laws in our country permit people to get away with these things. I would like to see that change.
  • 104 1 day ago

    The way the courts act he will probably get a slap om the hand and let go please go ahead and do that I am sure that this comunity will do your job for you also would like very much to know where was the mom do not for any reason let him have these kids back, this is not acceptable
  • TJ7 1 day ago

    Daddy’s nuts need to be hacked off so he can never father another child! If found guilty, I hope the judge that presides over this case has enough brains to lock this selfish-jerk up for a really long time! Thank-god these children didn’t die from their dad’s reckless behaviour!
  • TJ7 1 day ago

    Daddy’s nuts need to be hacked off so he can never father another child! If found guilty, I hope the judge that presides over this case has enough brains to lock this selfish-jerk up for a really long time! Thank-god these children didn’t die from their dad’s reckless behaviour!
  • MrsSandford 1 day ago

    Those kids are my kids ages and I don’t even like having to go out of the same room as them let alone leaving them in a stuffy van all alone to fend for themselves! What kind of ignorant ass chooses substance abuse over the welfare of their own child??? I hope he never sees them again!
  • abbotsford_citizen 1 day ago

    This man (I won’t dignify him with the title father) should NEVER see these children again. He should be locked in a hot vehicle himself! I hope that this man doesn’t get custody of these children again. He obviously has no idea what it takes to be a responsible human being, never mind a parent. His sentence should include a vasectomy so he can’t reproduce anymore.
  • gayleclayton 1 day ago

    This is the Height of ignorance, what an idiot I can’t belive that someone would be that careless I am lucky that I don’t know who did it or I may not be able to be so nice, someone should lock him in a vehicle.
  • SemiahmooWR 1 day ago

    Just heard about this on the radio. Man, I’d really like a shot at the father. What kind human being could selfishly indulge himself leaving his kids unattended, let alone in this type of weather. I mean, in this day and age of child abductions, how could he do it? And then drinking and driving on top of that? Seeing that child crying at :53 his heartbreaking. Signed: one disgusted guy.
  • disgusted1812 1 day ago

    What a disgusting excuse for a human being… I hope someone locks him in a car and leaves him to die. Thank god that the kids are ok, but I’m terrified that he will get custody again.
  • brodiegirl33 1 day ago

    My heart breaks for these babies, thank GOD it didn’t end up with a tragic outcome.
    I pray this man doesn’t have access to his children any longer without supervision. That little one was only 4 months old, SIDS can happen with very little overheating, and he left the baby like that!
  • Gardener 1 day ago

    This story is shocking. Please don’t send these babies back to the father; there are many, MANY people who would LOVE to give these kids a great home, a great life. Regrettable, anyone can create babies; not everyone can look after them.
  • bruceE 6 hours ago

    What an outrage, and what a scumbag for a parent to do this to those helpless children. THAT MAN SHOULD BE FLOGGED.
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Motocross Sports and Youth: Too Much a Risk?

Motocross Accident

Recently in Utah, a young man at just the age of eight died after a motocross accident in Salt Lake City, Utah. The boy was in a late night race when he overshot a table top jump and hit a plywood deflection wall. He was wearing top of the line safety gear and had been riding since he was four years old.

SALT LAKE TRIBUNE: Boy, 8, dies in dirt bike accident

Personally, although I have never rode, I am a motocross fan having done first aid for motocross previously for two years.

After reading the article I happened to read the comments by other readers of the story, and was quite shocked when finding that most of them were negative.

Many of the posts stated that the parents were neglegent and that no child should be able to ride much less race a dirt bike. Safety was a major discussion of all the replies.

But how risky is the sport and is it worth the risk?

These parents will question that for the rest of their lives most likely, however we should not stop the sport because of one accident.

Accidents happen no matter what sport and activity you are involved with. Football, hockey, soccer…even bicycle riding has risks involved and kids have been seriously hurt or even died.

The main thing to remember in these higher risk sports is safety. Motocross and dirt bike riding has a lot of safety equipment involved with it and motocross racers are required to have them in order to compete. This young boy had all the safety equipment – a good helmet, neck brace, chest brace, etc. but the accident still happened and he unfortunately died. However many other motocross racers have overshot a jump and have come out of it just fine.

Another point mentioned was that eight year olds do not have the mind or motor skills in order to race in motocross. I would go as far as saying from my experience doing first aid and watching motocross that the young racers are more safe then the older racers. The young racers do not want to get hurt and are careful in what they do, although they still want to compete. That is a thinking age. A lot of the teenager and adult racers are more competitive then the youth and are out there just trying to pass finish first.

Doing first aid, I think we have treated more adults then youth and have had more adults seriously injured then youth.

We need to remind ourselves to pop that bubble we are placing around children, let them explore the world. Kids get hurt, it is a fact of life. You may not think motocross is the best activity for your child – and you may be right for YOUR child – but for some children it is the perfect activity for them. Remember getting your first bike? Or your drivers license? There is a certain amount of freedom with that and the same goes for dirt bike riding and motocross. Some kids crave that.

When thinking about how dangerous the sport is, think of the local neighbourhood child who is on his bike, going over man-made jumps, other objects, the likes. This is dangerous and could even kill…but many parents don’t say anthing and just say it is a port of growing up.

Don’t keep your child in a protective bubble. Let him try things and explore them if he or she is interested.

Keeping them from doing something in many cases just leads them to wanting to do it more and might make them find alternatives.

I end this post saying rest in peace to the young racer, Logan Emerson of Sandy, Utah. You are now racing the big race in the sky. I may have not known you personally, but as a motocross fan – you are part of the large community.

Are we training our youth to be militants?

A recent New York Times article is creating quite a response internationally when it was reported that a group of Explorer Scouts are learning about what the US Customs and Border Patrol agents do everyday. The article reports about a series of simulations they did on a training exercise.  The simulations include hostage situations, poisonous gas clouds, and illegal immigrants.

NEW YORK TIMES: Scouts train to fight terrorists, and more

To explain further, the Explorer Scouts is a program within Boy Scouts of America in which the young men and women learn about future job careers among other things.

This article has been creating quite a disturbance…however not within the United States. Most of the negative responses has been internationally. Some to the point where the World Organization of the Scouting Movement (WOSM) has been contacted.

The question is are we teaching too much and too young? Personally, I endorse the program.

Youth are in a constant struggle to find out what they want to be when they are older and there are also some very great careers out there that are not explored because not much is known about them. This program helps youth learn more about these careers and see if they have an interest in them.

You can read about a career in Border Patrol in a book and THINK you are really interested, bt unless you get to experience it, you will not know for sure if it is right for you.

I think we should embrace educational programs such as this one organized by the Boy Scouts of America and encourage more. Let the youth figure out which job is right for them.

When I was seventeen, I managed to organize an ambulance ride-along with a local ambulance station. Ambulances are full of risks too, you never know when it might be in a high speed collision or exosed to diseases or even in a violent situation. I waved the risks aside and went on the ride-along and learned a lot about what a paramedic actually does and it was truly rewarding.

Youth need to experience their job before they will know if it is the RIGHT job.

It may even save them money on wasted university courses or other job training.

The New Place for Kids To Get Their Fix

Where are many teens getting their drugs from today? Drug dealers? Friends?

How about your bathroom medicine cabinet.

If you watch some of the American television networks, you may have seen the commercials by Drug Free America with the teen showing his large collection of pills in a school lunch room. It has been recently reported that every day as many as 2,500 youth age 12 to 17 abuse a pain reliever for the very first time. That is a DAILY figure, not an annual figure, which to me sounds like an alarming rate.

Think about the typical medicine cabinet of an elderly person. I remember my grandmother took as many as 5-8 pills a day for various things. Just think of all the medications available – watch an hour television show and you will see ads for many that may be in your medicine cabinet, such as for cholesterol lowering pills, heart pills, blood thinners – there are too many to name.

These teens don’t know what these drugs can do to them and experiment anyways. With the names of these medications, I hardly doubt that many actually know what they are taking in reality.

Many parents talk about the dangers of illegal drugs, but how many talk about the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are readily available. Many youth think that these drugs are the safe alternative to illegal drugs and that they are less harmful then illegal drugs. Fact is, depending on how they are taken, these drugs can be just as harmful.

When do these young people start taking these easily obtainable drugs? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the United States, among 12- and 13-year-olds, prescription drugs are the drug of choice. The same survey also reported that In 2006, more than 2.1 million teens ages 12 to 17 reported abusing prescription drugs.

What can these drugs do? The Partnership for Drug-free America reports the following:

There are serious health risks related to abuse of prescription drugs. A single large dose of prescription or over-the-counter painkillers or depressants can cause breathing difficulty that can lead to death. Stimulant abuse can lead to hostility or paranoia, or the potential for heart system failure or fatal seizures. Even in small doses, depressants and painkillers have subtle effects on motor skills, judgment, and ability to learn.

The abuse of OTC cough and cold remedies can cause blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, coma, and even death. Many teens report mixing prescription drugs, OTC drugs, and alcohol. Using these drugs in combination can cause respiratory failure and death.

Prescription and OTC drug abuse is addictive. Between 1995 and 2005, treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increased more than 300 percent

~ From Parents: The Anti-Drug

So what should parents be doing? Parents, grandparents, caregivers, etc should keep an eye on all their medications and look for suspicious signs that someone else may be taking them. Keep track of the amounts of the pills you have.

Also make sure to dispose of expired or medications no longer needed properly. The best way it to do it discreatly such as by mixing them with coffee grounds or within other things you throw away.

Most importantly, TALK to your youth about the dangers of taking prescription and over-the-counter drugs. This is one of the best things you can do.

For more information of ways to safeguard your teens or what to do if you suspect they abusing prescription or over-the-counter drugs, check out the Parents:The Anti-Drug website at www.theantidrug.com.

Close to Home

The Province newspaper (Vancouver, BC) reported the other day that a man in his fifty’s approached two young boys that were selling lemonade and asked them if he could take their photo.  The boys felt uneasy about the man and went inside and told their parents who in turn called the police.

THE PROVINCE: Man approaches boys at Chilliwack lemonade stand

Now the article is pretty vague and leaves a lot of detail out, which of course lets our mind jump to the worst conclusion possible.

We live in a world now where the slightest suspicion can turn a whole community into fearing for their child’s safety and sometimes overreact.

Now, I am not saying that the man was right in what he did. He may or may not have been a dangerous person. The man should have known better then to ask young people if he can take their picture. Most people these days know to ask parental permission before taking any photos of youth.

If it turns out the man wanted to use the photos for legitimate reasons, he made his biggest mistake by the way he approached the children.

When I was younger, I did some freelance work for one of the local newspapers here and in turn sometimes had young people as the subject of the photos I took. But before I took any photos of a younger person, I always made sure to get parental permission.  This is pretty much common sense these days.

One thing I am pleased about is how the two boys reacted in this case. As soon as they felt uneasy, they went to an adult and told them what had happened. This is ofcourse what all children should be taught to do in cases like this.

The man may have been a freelance photographer, working for a newspaper, working for a book, or he may have been doing it for the wrong reasons. Either way, it is a lesson on what we need to teach our kids  to do in situations like this.

However, we need to also remember to not let cases like this create mass paranoia where worry about everyone. We need to live our lives, just cautiously.

Economic Situation Causes Child Abuse Cases to Spike

Today is Child Abuse Awareness Day (along with Child Abuse Awareness Month in some places) so I thought this would be an appropriate article.

A recent Reuters article claims that with the economic turmoil going on right now, child abuse and neglect cases have been rising throughout the United States, with one hospital having 1800 cases – a large increase from 1500 the previous year.

This makes me think of the little boy from last week who told me that he hadn’t eaten and that they could not afford food. Yesterday, he was seen again wandering down the street with no shoes or coat and begging for money saying he hasn’t eaten all day. Once again, he was given something to eat and the police were called.

Although economic times are rough right now and money is tight for everyone, the economy is no excuse for child abuse BUT in regards to neglect such as not enough food or the child not getting the medicine he or she needs, the government and society really should be doing their part to help in these situations. The government, if it already hasn’t done so already, should be assisting in food and medicine needs – these are kids,  they deserve this.

But, as we all know – not all abuse or neglect cases are accidents and sometimes the resources are there and the parents are just not acting on it. In these cases, we really need to help the child by reporting it and encouraging social services to investigate. Even if it turns out that child hasn’t been fed because of money situations, now that family can be referred to the help it needs.

This article just proves that we need to be even more alert in these times to make sure children around us are being treated proper – by making that call, you might be saving a life.


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