2016 NJCTS Youth Scholarship Award Essay: “How I Changed My Life”

This is the essay I submitted to the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2016 Youth Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it!

KyleO

KyleO

At the age of five I was diagnosed with Tourettes. This is and will forever be the biggest struggle in my life. Not only has it affected me physically, it has also affected my social life and school experience. For me I have to go through the same pain everyday and try to find ways to overcome and look towards the future. Only recently have I taken this mindset and it has improved my daily life tremendously. Through the process of finding a way to cope with my disorder I have found many activities and interests that I never thought I could enjoy. I started communicating with people and managed to find hobbies that I genuinely enjoyed. Although my life so far has been a rough road it has led me to some amazing things I never imagined I could find.

I have always been secretly fascinated about why I tic and what triggers it. I have done research and have found many interesting things. My curiosity stemmed ever since I went to a Tourette Clinic when I was young and found out more about my condition. My personal dream is to be able to help people who have the same problems as I do which is why I want to study psychology or neurology. Becoming someone who could help others through their pain and relate to them is something that I believe can be very therapeutic for both parties. I have met others who have Tourettes and it was an amazing experience not only for me but for the people I met as well. The feeling of communicating with someone who feels the same as I do is an amazing feeling that I would gladly enjoy experiencing for the rest of my life.

Not only have I found myself in this journey but I have also found others. Social anxiety and fear have always held me back from communicating with people and drastically affected my grades and school life. One of the biggest factors that led me to combat this issue was the youth group that I am involved with at my local church. I’ve grown from a socially awkward child to a truly open and outward adult because of the people and experiences that I’ve come across. My youth group has become one of my favorite things in life because I know that I have people who want to accept me for who I am. Throughout the years of being in the program I have become a leader among my peers and have begun helping with many activities and plans that the church holds. Because of my involvement in the church I have started convincing myself to talk to new people and be accepting and confident of myself. By instituting this personal rule I have began to notice a steady improvement in my grades, social life, and the quality of life overall.

My personal skills and talents have also helped me further myself in many ways. This past year I built a computer from scratch. Building and modifying computers has always been one of my hobbies and could even lead to studying computer science. Ever since I was a child electronics have fascinated me and have led me to many things such as my passion for graphic design. Not only are these activities enjoyable but they are extremely therapeutic. I really hope that I can share these experiences with others so that they can look for a brighter future as well. By using my skills and talents to overcome my condition I have shown remarkable improvements in my life and my ability to make a plan for my future.

Developmental Psychology: The baby logs of a now-20-year-old with neurodevelopmental disorders

Hey everyone! So as you guys may or may not know, I’m a Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology major in college and I am particularly fascinated with Developmental Psychology and Neuro-Developmental Disorders. The other day, I found something that fascinated the neuropscyhologist in me — two of my own day-to-day baby logs written by different babysitters!

Knowing that I was born with the genes for Tourette’s Syndrome, OCD, Sensory Processing Disorder, these baby logs and the patterns they show about the development of a child with these disorders is fascinating to me. So I have decided that I am going to type up the logs that mention anything about my behavior for my own future professional reference and for anyone else (psychologists, parents, researchers, etc) who may be interested in the development of children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

In addition to the original baby log notes that were taken, I am also going to type up my own commentary on it based on developmental psychologist and the normal vs abnormal development of a child.

All of the information I am about to give was documented in my baby book and is taken from memory (which can be fallible) or from stories. All of this information was written and documented. Everything in parentheses is my own commentary. Parts that are boded and highlighted are parts that may be slightly abnormal or may relate to Tourette’s, OCD, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, etc. Continue reading