Free range me

Well, my kid made it to Arizona safely. Shockingly enough, I didn’t spend the entire vacation without him in an anxious mess. Sure, I breathed a sigh of relief when I knew his plane landed safely, but that was about it. The few days without Stink included lots of cherished time with Pip and her dad.

We all stayed up late a few times, curled up on the green couches with books akin to those fat fluffy seals sunning themselves on rocks at the pier. (I’m currently reading Anne Lammot’s Grace, Eventually and just laughing out loud. That woman is brilliant and about as neurotic as I am. Though I have better hair. Sorry, Anne.)

The day after he left, I had tea with Tuskany. While Pip and her daughter swapped books in the next room, Tuskany quipped that I had some free-range parent characteristics. I had to laugh, because in many ways, she’s not wrong. I didn’t check Stink’s luggage. (For all I know, he could have loaded up that suitcase with Twizzlers, pens and porn.)

I didn’t even know who is parent chaperone was until I arrived at the airport that morning, groggy and disheveled from lack of coffee and sleep. In stealing kisses from my man-child and reminding him to brush his teeth at least once on the three-day trip, I forgot to ask for the chaperone’s phone number. I reckoned to myself that if he needed to get in touch with me, he could take my advice and ask another parent to use their phone.

I’m not sure how you would handle this. I do know that Tuskany would never operate in such a manner. She is truly one of the best parents I know. She has this responsible thing down pat, and her daughter, well, she’s a genius. Even Stink thinks so. (After Disneyland a few weeks back, he turned to me and said, “Mom, Nadia is the smartest girl I ever met. And she’s only in THIRD grade. Um… I think she’s smarter than me!” To which I responded, “She is smarter than you, kid!”).

I’m certain that this wunder girl’s mother would not only be sure that her daughter had her own phone, she would not be on a plane with a bunch of rag-tag public school kids going on an excavation. (I’d tell you the places they went, but I lost the itinerary before we even got to the airport. Something with rocks and deserts and Indian caves with the name Canyon tied onto the end for the tourists.)

The thing is, though, I just knew he’d be fine. He was surrounded by teachers and parents. (Some of the parents I even had cell phone numbers for and they sent me pics!) I just didn’t worry about it. Here’s one from someone who, thank God, was kind enough to show me how much Stink was enjoying the culture on Day 1.

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Teen Tommy Licato gets June 4 proclaimed as Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day in South Plainfield

PHOTO BY VICTORIA CARUSO/TAP into South Plainfield — South Plainfield High School student Tommy Licato accepted a proclamation declaring June 4, 2015 as Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day from Mayor Matt Anesh.

The mayor of South Plainfield, N.J., Matt Anesh, has announced that Thursday, June 4 is Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day in the borough and presented a proclamation to South Plainfield High School student Tommy Licato.

An inherited neurological disorder, Tourette Syndrome (TS) affects 1 in 100 children and there are more than 20,000 school-aged children in New Jersey dealing with TS. Characterized by “tics,” TS can strike people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and although medication came help there is no standard treatment or known cure for this disorder.

“It is important to increase awareness, understanding and support for individuals and families affected by TS as well as the individuals and organizations that are committed to promoting education and awareness about TS to the general public, healthcare community and educational institutions,” said the mayor. “…Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day is a special day to promote understanding, compassion and acceptance for all our fellow citizens who deserve and need our support to break the stigma related to Tourette Syndrome.”

Read the full story here at TAP into South Plainfield.

Cresskill students get lessons about Tourette Syndrome from NJCTS Youth Advocates

NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome’s (NJCTS) Youth Advocates inspired, educated and spread awareness about Tourette Syndrome to a total of 1800 Cresskill, N.J., students from May 11 through May 15, as part of a weeklong TS awareness campaign in the district.

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements or sounds known as tics. It is estimated that 1 in 100 children show signs of the disorder—as many as 20,000 school aged kids in New Jersey alone. TS is frequently accompanied by ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and learning disabilities. Kids with TS are at increased risk for bullying and report feelings of isolation due to their condition. NJCTS Youth Advocates share their experiences with TS and spread messages of encouragement, acceptance, and self-advocacy.

Drew Friedrich spoke about TS to over 600 high school and 400 middle school students on May 11. Drew is 22 years old, a recent graduate of County College of Morris, has been a Youth Advocate since 2012, and was a coach at the first annual Tim Howard Leadership Academy last August.

Drew did an amazing job connecting with the students and was comfortable in his skin, TS and all. He showed students that anything is possible and being different can be empowering. The students asked wonderful questions and started great discussion. Continue reading

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month is finally here!

Tourette’s Syndrome Awareness month is finally here!! Today Kane and I will be speaking with his class! Also, so many amazing supporters in our community as well as surrounding communities will be wearing teal to show their support for Kane and TS Awareness!

So if you’re reading this, would you #weartealforkane?! :)

 

Youth Advocates continue to spread the word about Tourette Syndrome across New Jersey!

Congratulations to NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) Youth Advocate Mike Hayden, who spoke with confidence and elegance about Tourette Syndrome to more than 200 third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders at the Bryan Elementary School in Cresskill, N.J., this afternoon.

I joined Mike for this incredible presentation, along with the school counselor, Superintendent Michael Burke, and our generous NJCTS supporter, Caryn Aronson, who organized this week’s presentations.

For more information about Tourette Syndrome the Center and its Education Outreach Program, please visit www.njcts.org or call 908-575-7350. You can also read more about presentations like this on our Facebook page. “Like” us today!