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Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. The disorder is named for Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, the pioneering French neurologist who in 1885 first described the condition in an 86-year-old French noblewoman.

My daughter was diagnosed with Tourettes syndrome at 7 years old, by the Children’s Hospital of Houston.

She has involuntary tic movements of her neck, wrist and ankles.  It is a neurological disorder with symptoms that are made worse by stress.

Difficulty consistently inhibiting thoughts and/or actions. Inappropriate statements or behaviors result from the student’s inability to consistently apply “mental brakes” – the child can’t stop himself consistently from expressing behaviors, thoughts, or displaying actions that someone else might be able to control. Behaviors might seem to be excessive silliness, being sassy, free-associative comments, emotional outbursts, contextual swearing, blurting out, inappropriate comments, explosive anger, and oppositional defiance.

Tourette Syndrome is more than tics, and many of a student’s ‘behaviors’ can be “symptoms” rather than tics. Verbal and physical tics are not the only symptoms of TS. Many students, whether they have severe or mild physical and vocal “tics”, also have significant difficulty with invisible (but extremely disruptive) dysinhibition.

A small percentage of children with TS have outbursts of uncontrollable anger often referred toin the TS community as “rage, as a symptom of TS. Generally, but not always, this is displayed in the home setting more frequently than at school. Usually the child or adult might yell, throw things, perhaps call names, all in a manner that seems unprecipitated.  This symptom is neither the fault of the child nor the parents. As it can seem dramatic, many parents blame themselves.  In certain school or other systems, they may also be blamed by professionals, friends and family.

She is now 15 years old and a Freshman at the Sharyland School District, in Mission, Texas.

She and her partner are DISTRICT CHAMPIONS in Freshman Girls Tennis.

She is an inspiration to me and others who take the time to know her.