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Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month: May 15 - June 15

Who better than our 2017 conference guest, Georgia McCormick, to write something to mark TSAM?

Georgia, a Cambridgeshire mum to two boys with additional needs, appears with her husband Scott and eldest son Isaac, on Channel 4's hit show Gogglebox - pictured below.

Here's Georgia's post ... just to give you the heads-up, there's a few adult words in here for emphasis!

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"I'm sitting in the car waiting for my son who is just about to sit his GCSE.           

Nothing unusual about that in itself but you won't know the build up to me sitting here. You see my son has Tourette Syndrome, a Neurological Disorder that is characterised by involuntary movements and sounds, these are called tics. My son is the 1 in 15 % that swears and shouts obscene words. He also has multiple vocal and motor tics.

People stare, people tut, people even tell him to be quiet, people move away and in one situation people car chase you !

We haven't had a great time in school. Whilst some teachers have been a breath of fresh air others have been complete A****! Some sending my son out of class every time he ticked or asking him to stop ticking were the top ways in which they dealt with them. What I found most alarming was that these teachers are supposed to be highly educated yet it seemed common sense and empathy eluded them. Did they genuinely think my son wanted to bark like a dog or shout 'F*** off' every 30 seconds, did they not think that he felt embarrassed enough ? 

For those few that didn't understand this complex Neurological Disorder were to have such an impact on him that led to severe anxiety and depression. One teacher even chose to tell him he wouldn't get a job wth tourettes, who would employ him? ( I dealt with her very sternly) . All those negative interactions have lasting , deep impact , those type of scars don't go.

These people are the ones that need Tourette Syndrome Education. 

My son has been off school for some time . He often tics till 3, 4 and 5 am leaving him too exhausted to attend school, but it's the mental health issues that debilitate more. These very much go hand in hand with Tourette Syndrome. 

So I'm waiting in the car ready to take him home straight after and incase he goes into a tic storm which is essentially like a fit . 

GCSES are not the be all and end all but they mark his guts and determination to be here. I'm. So proud regardless of his grades. 

Tourette Syndrome isn't all doom and gloom though, it doesn't actually stop you achieving anything , but it does need accommodations , acceptance, education and empathy. 

To those teachers that understood - thank you

To those teachers that made his life terrible at the time - shame on you!  

My son is marvellous and we will ride the waves together." 

Peterborough Tourette's Group info