This is for you to print out and give to your teacher and classmates and friends.
TOURETTE’S SYNDROME – (TOO-RETS)
I have Tourette’s Syndrome. This means that my body does things I don’t want it to do. Did you know that the brain is kind of the BOSS of your whole body? If you want your hand to move over and pick up a glass of juice, it’s your brain that is in control of every movement that is needed to get that juice into your hand. But your brain is also responsible for things you don’t even pay attention to. Did you know that when you’re reaching for that glass of juice, your brain is also talking to the muscles in your legs and waist, making them move ‘just right’ so that when you do reach out for the glass, you don’t fall over? I’ll bet you didn’t even think of that!
So, I’ll bet if you try to think of all the things the brain has to do, you can imagine that it is very, very busy! Since the brain is so busy, it has helpers. You can think of these helpers as little messengers. The messengers carry the brain’s message to the right part of the body. For example, if the brain decides it’s time for the toes to wiggle, it tells a messenger “Hey, go tell those toes to start wiggling!”.
Sometimes people are born with TOO MANY messengers. After all the messengers have been assigned their job, there's a bunch of these messengers left over. They want to help too, but the brain says 'No, I've already got enough helpers. Go sit yourselves in the corner over there and stay out of our way."
Well, of course, the extra-messengers soon get bored and angry and decide they're going to help whether the brain likes it or not. So THEY start telling different parts of the body to do stuff. Now, these parts don't know there are extra messengers. They just know that when they're told to do something, they do it EVEN IF THE OWNER OF THE BODY DOESN'T WANT THAT PART TO DO IT.
If you don’t believe me, try to not blink as long as possible. Pretty soon the brain will decide it's time to blink and send down a messenger. The poor eye will be confused. "Here's the kid I belong to telling me not to blink, but at the same time, here's one of the brain's messengers telling me that I HAVE TO blink. Well, I better listen to the messenger before the brain gets mad at me!" So then, of course, your eye will blink because it thinks it’s doing what the brain tells it to do.
There’s a lot of silly things these extra messengers make me do. Sometimes they want me to stamp my feet. Sometimes they want me to sniff or cough or sigh and sometimes I make a noise like I am huffing and puffing. Sometimes I even shout hey or huh! Sometimes I have to get out of my chair and sit on the floor, this one is funny when I do it in the supermarket. Sometimes they make me shake my head. And lots more! But best of all I have a tic that everybody likes….. I just cannot stop laughing!!!!
©Tourette Scotland 2010