D4TS Scholarship Recipient Jensen Kaplan

Jensen M. Kaplan






Jensen Max Kaplan, 2015 Recipient, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Tourette Syndrome Scholarship

As a person with Tourette’s, OCD, and ADHD I can say that my life strays
from what most consider ordinary. While I go through everyday acting as if
nothing’s different, I am constantly reminded of my disabilities. Reading has
never been easy, rolling my eyes and looking away always made it hard to
keep track of what line I was on. Falling asleep takes longer than normal
since I tic until I’m finally unconscious. Every time I close a door or turn on
a light I have to do it over and over. Paying attention for long periods of time
is near impossible without the aid of medicine. Whenever I meet someone
new I have to explain that I have Tourette’s, not to mention explaining my
disability to a child is quite the experience. However, despite all of the
hardships I may face, I wouldn’t change anything. My Tourette’s makes me
Since I have been overcoming my disabilities for quite some time I
feel that I am able to endure more disadvantages without giving up. I get
embarrassed less easily, and having Tourette’s gives me an arsenal of new
material to make jokes with. By having disabilities of my own I feel that I
can be more empathetic to others and their difficulties. In fact I find that
many people place trust in me and come to me for help. When I was
working as a counsel our I was approached by a 12 year old camper. I soon
found out that this boy looked up to me. One night the boy asked to talk to
me privately, I was surprised to fmd out how much he had bottled up.
Shortly into our conversation he broke down crying. He was having girl
problems as well as problems dealing with his cabinmates and his tics. For a
few hours every couple of days we talked. I coached him through how to
deal with things, how I did things, and most importantly I let him know that
I was there for him. This paralleled my experience as a camper when a
counselour spoke with me one on one about his Tourette’s. Through personal
experience I knew that the best thing in the world is knowing someone older
whom has gone through exactly what you’ve been going through. I’ll never
forget the feeling I got from helping him and the sincere thanks I received
for helping this boy through some hard times. One of my favorite quotes,
which I find quite inspiring and applicable will forever be, “I have Tourette’s,
Tourette’s doesn’t have me.”