This is the essay I submitted to the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2015 Children’s Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it!
Ever since I was a child, I have had small symptoms of Tourette Syndrome. I use to blink my eyes multiple times, when I hiccuped it was extremely loud and annoying. I use to get made fun of because of my hiccups but it didn’t acquire to me or my parents that this had something to do with Tourette Syndrome. My parents and I didn’t notice my symptoms on February 2011. In February I had an attack where I couldn’t stop shaking my hands my head jerks quickly. I was rushed to the hospital where I was tested for several diagnoses but not Tourette Syndrome. Towards the end of my visit, they then brought a neurologist in who then proceeded to diagnosing me with T.S.
Since I was diagnosed with T.S., it was very challenging to accept myself. I always doubt myself thinking I couldn’t do anything. I questioned my parents and God blaming them for what I thought was a sickening disorder. Everyday during class I made my tics however, they were small and I made them slightly noticeable. As the years progressed, I started to feel comfortable with myself and my parents always told me “God will never give you something you can’t handle”. After hearing this quote and eventually believing it I started to open myself more and began to tell my teachers and close friends. My tics grew slightly bigger but I never tried to hide it. Last year, in my major class which is Child Development, we did a research project on children with special needs. I figured this was the perfect time to share what I know, learn and a bit about me to the majority of the class who didn’t know that I have Tourette Syndrome. Towards the end of the presentation I asked my class if they know anyone with Tourette, only two students raised their hands. I continued with saying “You should all raise your hand because I have Tourette Syndrome”. The class was shocked but they never left my side, they supported me through everything I did. They brought Tourette Syndrome awareness buttons for T.S. Awareness month. All of the students in my class made me realize, that if I can share my story, I can do anything I put my mind to.
As a future educator in the child development field, I want to spread the word about Tourette Syndrome. I don’t only want my students to be aware but my coworkers as well. Telling my coworkers and my students will spread the word to other coworkers, students family members until the whole state, better yet, country is aware of this motivational disorder. I want my preschoolers to know that just because people have disorders or may look different doesn’t mean they are different. I want them to learn about bullying and how it shouldn’t be practiced at all. As a future educator, I want my preschoolers to see the positive of everyone with a disorder and/or disability. People with disorders or disabilities are just as smart, caring, loving and friendly as people without disorders or disabilities. Yes, I have had some challenges and I am still going through them. But I also remember, just because I have Tourette Syndrome doesn’t make things impossible for me, just a little difficult.