This is the essay I submitted to the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2014 Children’s Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it!
I always want to be seen as the person I am, not as a diagnosis. I have very high functioning Autism and need social support and academic accommodations. I am creative, musical, artistic and have a great sense of humor. I also have ADHD and Tourette Syndrome.
I have been to some clinics for Tourette Syndrome, such as a clinic at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. That’s right, I had to fly from New Jersey to Atlanta, then hop on another flight to Alabama. The people at the clinic were so sweet and polite. They even offered me tickets to a football game at the school’s stadium as a result of telling them that I am in the marching band.
Having Tourette Syndrome is a challenge I have to deal with in life, and although I live with that challenge every day, I have acquired tools that help me cope.
My life has never been what one would call “easy.” Three months after I turned 8, my parents sent me to a residential school to help “at-risk” youth. My time there was spent teaching me how to deal with the frustration that my disabilities give me. I needed to learn how to calmly communicate without being overly emotional.
This was quite a challenge because I was only eight, The School was called The Andrus Children’s Center. Being apart from my parents was a very difficult experience, They came on weekends and eventually took me home on weekends so I could practice the skills I had learned.
I grew a lot as an individual at Andrus.