Tourette’s Syndrome is defined as a nervous system disorder that involves involuntary movements and sounds. Google also states that it is characterized by the compulsive utterance of obscenities. The second part is sadly all that most people know about my disorder, which isn’t even entirely true. Even though only a small percentage of people with Tourette’s have that symptom it seems to be the only part of the disorder that gets any attention. This in essence describes a lot of what I have dealt with in my life with Tourette’s.
For me it was always common for people to ask me things like why are you making those noises and can you please stop. Frustrating as it may have been, I couldn’t fault any of these people, they just didn’t know about my condition. In response I felt that I should educate my classmates on what Tourette’s is and what it means. I have made several class presentations about Tourette’s over the years. I started this when I was in elementary school and continued up until my freshman year of high school. By this time almost all of my classmates knew about me and what it meant to have Tourette’s. It built a good base of support for me, especially going into a high school where there were many new faces. Any time I was questioned about my noises by this time, it was likely that someone nearby would come over to me and explain it for me.
Last year I had a memorable experience with one of my classmates that did not know about my Tourette’s. I was in an honors chemistry class with my friend Evin, and there was another kid in the class named Evan. Evan didn’t know me very well when we started the class. He started noticing me making noises, but he assumed that I was being rude and trying to disrupt the class. Needless to say, he didn’t like me. My friend Evin started talking to Evan who explained my condition and encouraged him to try talking to me. Eventually, Evan and I began talking more and we ended up being very good friends.
Tourette’s Syndrome is little known and largely misunderstood. It’s true that I get funny looks from people who don’t know about Tourette’s, but that’s alright because they just need to be informed just like all the other people who asked me why I make the noises that I do.