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.