Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Shelly Schneider

5/30/2014 (4 months 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 (4 months 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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Blog

Homosexuals Have Gifts to Offer: Why That Shouldn't Be News to Anyone

Image of Synod of Bishops on marriage and family

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

What bugs me about the headline is that it labels one group of sinners as though the rest of the Christian community is sinless or perhaps less sinful. The headline could just as easily read "Adulterers or Fornicators or Drunks or Liars or Thieves or Murderers ... continue reading


The Brittany Maynard Dilemma: Culture of Life vs Suicidal Euthanasia

Image of All things are possible through prayer.

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CC

As you probably have read on the internet or in newspapers, or seen on TV news, a 29 year old woman named Brittany Maynard has decided to end her life. Where is the outrage over her decision to commit suicidal euthanasia on November 1st, which happens to be ALL SAINTS ... continue reading


Waiting For The Company of Even One Priest

Image of

By Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, O.S.B.

Imagine the pain our Lord suffers every day because of those priests who ignore Him and flee from His company. CANASTOTA, NY - No need to imagine. Read, ponder and share the most recent post from Father Mark on Vultus Christi. These powerful words are taken from ... continue reading


Our Lady of the Rosary, Adoration and My Friend Mike

Image of 'The rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known...'

~Archbishop Fulton Sheen

By Michael Seagriff

We celebrated the memorial of our Lady of the Rosary on October 7, which was instituted by Pope Pius V. He attributed the naval victory over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 to the Blessed Mother's intercession after the Christian world sought her aid through ... continue reading


Prayer is Life Changing

Image of There is unlimited power in prayer. Prayer has the capacity to change all things for the better.

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CC

I don't know about you, but at times in my own life, I forget to pray first before doing anything else, when things go awry. When negative, difficult or challenging things start to happen in my life, I may pace, begin to worry, knit, sew, call a friend, or run an ... continue reading


I Had A Dream to Pray the Rosary

Image of The repetition in the Rosary is meant to lead one into restful and contemplative prayer.

By Cheryl Jones

I had a dream, actually two dreams in successive nights. 'For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.  In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and ... continue reading


4 Powerful Ways to Prevent and Ease Depression

Image of Prayer and meditation are helpful for those suffering from depression

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CC

'Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from ... continue reading


There is No Room for Envy in a Grateful Heart

Image of Praying the Rosary enables us to accept God's grace and follow His commands with ease.

By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky

It really is amazing how easily any situation can be transformed by humility and gratitude. Although we can't afford a trip to Disney nowadays, we were blessed with a few days at the beach during the off-season. My husband could only share part of the time with ... continue reading


Jesus' Great Invitation - 'Come Unto Me All Who are Weary'

Image of When we become humble enough to accept our imperfections and frailties, we become strong in Jesus.

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CC

Have you ever met someone who you just know is a Christian? Of course you have. They are the ones who consistently personify and exhibit abject peace, love, joy, forgiveness, goodness, faithfulness, constancy and steadfastness. They are the ones you turn to when you ... continue reading


5 Easy Ways to 'Be Not Afraid'!

Image of Be not afraid, regardless of how the world appears, we must 'walk by faith, not by sight.'

By Adele M Gill, RN, BSN, CC

Be not afraid. According to the online Bible Gateway, a helpful Bible reference resource, this phrase is used 97 times in the Holy Bible, and for good reason. LOS ANGELES, CA - Amongst Judeo-Christians, people of faith have been enduring great persecution for ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:1-10
1 And you were dead, through the crimes and the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:13-21
13 A man in the crowd said to him, 'Master, tell my ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 20th, 2014 Image

St. Paul of the Cross
October 20: St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the Republic of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter