Teen Tommy Licato gets June 4 proclaimed as Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day in South Plainfield

PHOTO BY VICTORIA CARUSO/TAP into South Plainfield — South Plainfield High School student Tommy Licato accepted a proclamation declaring June 4, 2015 as Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day from Mayor Matt Anesh.

The mayor of South Plainfield, N.J., Matt Anesh, has announced that Thursday, June 4 is Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day in the borough and presented a proclamation to South Plainfield High School student Tommy Licato.

An inherited neurological disorder, Tourette Syndrome (TS) affects 1 in 100 children and there are more than 20,000 school-aged children in New Jersey dealing with TS. Characterized by “tics,” TS can strike people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and although medication came help there is no standard treatment or known cure for this disorder.

“It is important to increase awareness, understanding and support for individuals and families affected by TS as well as the individuals and organizations that are committed to promoting education and awareness about TS to the general public, healthcare community and educational institutions,” said the mayor. “…Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day is a special day to promote understanding, compassion and acceptance for all our fellow citizens who deserve and need our support to break the stigma related to Tourette Syndrome.”

Read the full story here at TAP into South Plainfield.

New Jersey students get lessons about Tourette from NJCTS Youth Advocates

NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome’s (NJCTS) Youth Advocates inspired, educated and spread awareness about Tourette Syndrome to a total of 1800 Cresskill, N.J., students from May 11 through May 15, as part of a weeklong TS awareness campaign in the district.

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements or sounds known as tics. It is estimated that 1 in 100 children show signs of the disorder—as many as 20,000 school aged kids in New Jersey alone. TS is frequently accompanied by ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and learning disabilities. Kids with TS are at increased risk for bullying and report feelings of isolation due to their condition. NJCTS Youth Advocates share their experiences with TS and spread messages of encouragement, acceptance, and self-advocacy.

Drew Friedrich spoke about TS to over 600 high school and 400 middle school students on May 11. Drew is 22 years old, a recent graduate of County College of Morris, has been a Youth Advocate since 2012, and was a coach at the first annual Tim Howard Leadership Academy last August.

“Drew did an amazing job connecting with the students and was comfortable in his skin, TS and all,” NJCTS Education Outreach Coordinator Gina Jones said. “He showed students that anything is possible and being different can be empowering. The students asked wonderful questions and started great discussion.” Continue reading