Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Shelly Schneider

5/30/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

and I have Tourette's Syndrome

Independence is a double-edged sword. When our kids were 1, 2 and 3, I dreamed of the day they would be able to wake up, fix a bowl of cereal and watch cartoons so I could sleep in on a Saturday morning (you know, until 6:15 a.m.). They are now 18, 20 and 21. Christopher is serving his country in the United States Army, and fast becoming independent. Our daughter, Sam, has a year away at college under her belt and made the Dean's List for heaven's sake!

Children rally around their friend

Children rally around their friend

Highlights

By Shelly Schneider

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/30/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Blog

Keywords: family, faith, funny, love, birthday, trust, kids, school


LOS ANGELES, CA - Our son, Michael, turned 20 years old today. If it were possible that a child was born responsible, then that was Michael. I've never worried if he would make a questionable choice. He is just that straight arrow, polite, generous-to-a-fault kind of young man. And today you'd never know Michael has a mild case of Tourette's Syndrome. It is a neurological condition that involves a combination of vocal and motor tics. Michael's tics (sounds - not words - or movements that he cannot control) were frequently a direct response to allergies. He no longer consumes dairy products on a daily basis, and that actually brought the tics down approximately 75 percent.

It's no wonder, then, that I am protective of my son. Growing up, children were cruel enough to kids who didn't grunt out loud or roll their eyes. In Michael's first and second grade classes, I explained to the kids exactly what Tourette's Syndrome was (in kid terms) and told his classmates that Michael simply could not control those kinds of noises or movements. No big deal. The wonderful 6 year-olds even stood up for him in music class one day, exclaiming in unison to the music teacher that Michael could not stop making those noises.

"He has T Syndrome!" they all said.

Light a virtual candle and say a prayer
   
His tics were not constant, and they changed from week to week, or month to month. Michael often went for a couple of months tic free. It is just one of the complexities of the disorder. We simply never knew when a tic would begin, when it might end, or why. (The not knowing why is the most difficult to accept, especially for a nosy journalist such as myself.)

When he entered third grade, however, I chose not to address his class. His teacher and I agreed that if needed, I would come in and give the explanation.

   
As it turns out, Michael took care of that all on his own.

In 2002, February 18-21 was Ability Awareness Week at Progress South Elementary. I believe the name of the group that visited the school was Kidz Link, but please don't quote me on that. A few teenagers with disabilities spoke to the students about treating each and every person, disability or not, with respect. They were accompanied by the head of the program, a teacher and some other professionals. There was a blind man, and a mother with an autistic child.

I knew nothing of the presentation, but as I waited in line on that Friday afternoon to pick up my children from school, I was greeted by Michael's teacher, Mrs. Higgins. 

'Oh, no,' I grumbled to myself. 'Michael either forgot something or started a new, loud tic today.'
'I'm going to call you tonight,' Mrs. Higgins said. 'Michael was just awesome today. Just awesome! You would have been so proud.'

Evidently, as the Ability Awareness program wrapped up, Michael stood up, and out of the blue, began to tell his class about his Tourette's.

Mrs. Higgins told me the story minute by minute, how Michael matter-of-factly gave a very accurate and detailed description of the challenges he faces.

'He was not nervous at all!' she said. 'It was wonderful. You would have been so proud of our Michael.'

Kudos to my brave son (that was everyone else's term for him - I've always known he was brave). When asked why he decided to stand up and tell his story (with absolutely no prompting, by the way), Michael just said he thought the kids would find it interesting.

'Maybe now they will know why I cannot stop making noises sometimes,' he said. 
Kudos, too, to the Kidz Link program, to the Ft. Zumwalt School District for bringing it to the kids, and to Mrs. Higgins, who has since retired from teaching. "Our Michael," she said. 

Maybe that was the beginning of Michael's career path. He will enter Southeast Missouri State University in the fall as a junior. His goal is to be a high school history teacher.

Happy birthday, Michael. As I reflect on your 20 years, I am amazed at the young man you have grown into. Tourette's could have caused you much heartache, but you wouldn't let it. You learned all you could, explained it to others in simple and effective terms, and when some chose to bully, you chose to turn the other cheek. I may be your mother, but watching you grow up has taught me more than I could have ever hoped to teach you.

Visit Catholic Shopping .com for fine Catholic gifts

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Blog

What is love? Watch

Image of

By Michaela Daphne

People say things like "If you really love me, you'll have sex with me" or "If you really love me, you'll buy me nice things," but what is the real definition of love? How do newly weds navigate the difficult terrain of authentic love? BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - When ... continue reading


Desolation, Grace, and Trust Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Recently I've crossed into a place I'm not proud to admit I've entered. It's not a physical place, but rather a spiritual and mental place. It's a product of exhaustion coupled with fear, but mostly it's due to a greater distance between God and I because I've been ... continue reading


The Corporate Christian Watch

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

What is a "corporate Christian"? It is a name I have coined for Christians whose world-view is filtered through the 501c(3) charter of their church. Not every Christian nor every church goes through this filter. However, there are a number who do and they do not ... continue reading


The Problem of Freedom Without God

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

In these increasingly dark days, a philosophy of freedom without reference to God has emerged.  In other words, people believe they are free to do anything they want. Well, the fact is, God does give the right of free choice or what is often called free ... continue reading


While Men Slept Watch

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

The parable of the "while men slept" has a message for our times. How can we apply its lessons to our times? The parable of sleeping men is in Matthew 13:24-30, 39.24 He proposed another parable to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed ... continue reading


The Power of Belief Systems Watch

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

Belief systems cause people to act, or "not" to act, as the case may be. Beliefs dictate actions; they also dictate in-actions. Therefore a lot of what happens to a person and community is caused by their actions creating consequences, or their lack of offensive ... continue reading


Just Sign on the Dotted Line Whom You Will Serve Watch

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

The insanity of Western leaders is being manifested as 1000 'Altars to Baal' will be erected in cities around the world. The first alter is expected to appear on April 19, the anniversary of both Waco and the the Oklahoma City Bombing.  An altar is planned in ... continue reading


Has the Church Become Secular? Watch

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

There are some serious questions to ask in this election cycle.  A big one is: has the church become secular?  What does that mean?  The question refers to whether the church adopted the tactics of the secular world as a means to obtain its ends? This ... continue reading


My Bad Attitude Watch

Image of

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

I suppose you could say I was feeling inspired (or maybe just brave) when I decided to follow up our hour of peace and stillness with another hour of quiet reflection and prayer at the home of a fellow parishioner for the parish's annual rosary crusade (sans ... continue reading


Good Friday - Gazing Upon The Face of Christ Watch

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

It is only with much perseverance and undeserved grace that our meditation and contemplation will bear fruit - fruit which we should share with those around us. On those occasions when we are so blessed, most of us will resort to sharing our experience with written or ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Captain James Cook wreckage discovered!
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, May 04, 2016
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: I fear no evil!
  • St. Florian: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, May 04, 2016
  • St. Matthew HD Video
  • Daily Reading for Thursday, May 5th, 2016 HD Video
  • 'Our warriors are everywhere': ISIS uses CHILDREN to threaten Europe

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 17:15, 22--18:1
15 Paul's escort took him as far as Athens, and went back with ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 148:1-2, 11-12, 13, 14
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh from the heavens, praise him in the ... Read More

Gospel, John 16:12-15
12 I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 4th, 2016 Image

St. Florian
May 4: The St. Florian commemorated in the Roman ... Read More