Show your support for NJCTS on #GivingTuesday

Gray gradientBlack Friday. Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday!

NJCTS is participating in #GivingTuesday on December 1, 2015, a global day dedicated to giving.

Our #GivingTuesday goal is to raise awareness for New Jersey’s 28,000 children and families living with Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders while raising critical funds to support individuals living with the challenges of TS every day.

Share your #GivingTuesday story! Tell the world how NJCTS has touched your life. Take an #Unselfie – a picture with a caption or card in the photo explaining how NJCTS makes a difference in your life. Tag your picture with #GivingTuesday #NJCTS and #Unselfie. Then, upload it to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook on December 1.

Tell your friends and family about what NJCTS means to you. Ask them to get involved by sharing your posts. Ask them to show their support for your favorite charity. Ask them to donate to NJCTS.

Join the #GivingTuesday movement on December 1! Visit www.givingtuesday.org to learn more about how you can make a difference and visit www.njcts.org to support the center that has made a difference in your life.

Thank you for joining the #GivingTuesday movement.

NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders

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Newton High School Alumna brings Tourette Syndrome education back ‘home’

NJCTS Education Outreach Coordinator Gina Maria Jones delivers an in-service presentation to more than 150 faculty and staff in the Newton School District at Newton High School.

NJCTS Education Outreach Coordinator Gina Maria Jones delivers an in-service presentation to more than 150 faculty and staff in the Newton School District at Newton High School.

The NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, Inc. (NJCTS) continues its mission to educate the public, medical professionals, and educators about the disorder. Recently, Education Outreach Coordinator Gina Maria Jones, M.Ed, delivered a faculty in-service to the entire Newton school district in Newton, NJ.

NJCTS received a call from the mother of a Newton High School freshman with Tourette Syndrome (TS) who wanted to ensure that her child had the support necessary for a successful school year. She turned to NJCTS to arrange for a presentation to the teachers. When the high school learned that there were other students living with TS in the school system, they took the in-service a step further and invited the entire district.

NJCTS Education Outreach Coordinator Gina Maria Jones, took the call and quickly agreed to do the presentation herself. With a background in education, Jones typically coordinates with NJCTS-trained presenters, who are all education professionals with advanced degrees, to facilitate the in-service presentations. But this case was different. As a 2002 Newton High School graduate, Jones—née Cicchino—couldn’t wait to bring Tourette Syndrome awareness back to her home community.

“For me, going ‘home’ to Newton High School was such a pleasure,” said Jones. “As an alumna of NHS, I was beyond honored to return to the school where I received a superb education and ‘return the favor.’ Not only was I able to thank the community that helped shape me, but I was able to educate them about Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders as well as the multitude of services and programs provided by NJCTS.”

NJCTS Faculty In-service presentations aim to help educators not only understand what their students with TS or associated disorders are going through, but also how to develop strategies for accommodating such students and fostering a supportive atmosphere. As a result of Jones’s presentation, more than 150 faculty and staff gained a better understanding of Tourette Syndrome, an inherited, misdiagnosed, and misunderstood neurological disorder characterized by involuntary sounds and movements know as tics that affects 1 in 100 children.

A natural presenter, Gina Maria grew up on the stage and performed in many of Newton High School’s musicals and plays throughout her high school years. She now uses her talent and Master of Education degree to spread TS awareness and to educate others about Tourette Syndrome and the associated disorders.

“Gina did an excellent job giving us an overview of TS and its associated disorders,” said Newton High School Principal Jeff Waldron. “The program was educational and spoke to how we can best address the needs of these students. At the end of the presentation, teachers working directly with students [living with Tourette Syndrome] got to meet with their families and Gina participated in those conversations. The entire presentation was well done and well received.”

To schedule an in-service in your area, please call 908-575-7350 or email Education Outreach Coordinator Gina Maria Jones at gjones@njcts.org. For more information about NJCTS please visit www.njcts.org.

Concerned about my son’s Tourette Syndrome, OCD, and ADHD

My son, Anthony, has Tourette Syndrome. Anthony is 9 years old and started displaying mild tics around the age of 3. The tics would wax and wane, the severity of them never being bad enough to be disconcerting to Anthony or myself. He did very well in school, was very sociable and was always on his best behavior.

Then came second grade. About halfway through the school year Anthony’s tics got worse, going from simple to complex and including phonic as well as motor tics. His behavior also began to change. He became more disagreeable, argumentative and began to be disruptive in class. He grades started declining and his teacher expressed concerns about his well being and self esteem. We went to the neurologist again and this time they diagnosed him with Tourette Syndrome.

Anthony also began displaying obsessive compulsive behaviors and was then diagnosed with OCD. The OCD got to the point that it was far worse than any of the tics he displayed and was extremely unsettling for Anthony. He began CBT to help him say no to OCD and gradually it got better. It hasn’t disappeared, but is much better than it was. In the midst of all this, we also had reasons to believe that he also has ADHD. His reading and writing skills have plummeted; he cannot retain anything that he reads. He is unable to sit still and focus in the classroom and is disruptive to his schoolmates. Even watching a movie at home is difficult, we have to constantly rewind because he missed something. At first I thought it was because he was giving so much energy and concentration into just getting through the day trying to manage the symptoms of the Tourette and OCD. But, the psychiatrist said that we’d be able to tell the difference with appropriate evaluations. So, we did the evaluations and and he had very high markers for ADHD.

So, Anthony has Tourette Syndrome with co-morbid disorders of OCD and ADHD. I have chosen to take a natural approach to treating his symptoms as I couldn’t bear the thought of all the negative side affects he’d experience being on the prescription meds. He has a very strict diet and gets a lot of exercise (he is on a travel hockey team), he takes homeopathic and herbal supplements as well as vitamin and mineral supplementation. He takes magnesium chloride baths several times a week and I do deep massage therapy a couple nights a week. He also has sensory issues and so we do dry brushing and have a weighted blanket for sleeping. I have seen an improvement with his tics and anxiety levels but it hasn’t helped his focus or retention.

I’m also now seeing his disorders affect him on the ice as far as being able to follow the play and know where to be. Hockey was his one safe place where he always felt at his best. Now, that is suffering too and it’s very upsetting to him. He hasn’t made the connection, he just keeps saying he is in a bad slump. His symptoms also seems to be cyclical in their severity, with the Fall/Winter being the worst and the Spring/Summer the best. I contribute this to a build up of anxiety as the new school year begins, but I am not positive.

I’m at a point where I’m now considering trying medication as I do not want to see him struggle another year, barely getting by in school, nor do I want to see his game start to decline because hockey means everything to him. Before the onset of the Tourette, OCD and ADHD he was always ahead of grade level with everything. I can see that his self esteem is suffering a bit and that hurts the most. He is such a wonderful, caring human being. I want him to accept himself for who he is and embrace his struggles, as I know in the long run they will make him stronger. But, I also want to help him in any way that I can without harming him in the meantime. I don’t know anyone with a child who has similar issues and so I wanted to find a group that could relate to what we are going through and from which I might gather new ideas for approaching the treatment of his symptoms. I just feel very lost and very frustrated at the moment and I wish that I had some help in making these tough decisions.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski Joins 6th Annual NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee

Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) joins the NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee

Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) joins the NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee

The NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders (NJCTS) welcomes Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) to the honorary committee of the 6th annual NJ Walks for TS. This 5K walk and family fun run  is a day of advocacy, awareness, acceptance and action and will take place at Mendham Borough Park.

NJ Walks for TS at Mendham benefits the NJCTS Education Outreach Program, which educates students and teachers at schools in every corner of New Jersey about Tourette Syndrome, anti-bullying and self-advocacy; as well as doctors and other healthcare providers to identify and treat TS.  Each member of the Honorary Committee has a history of support for the 1 in 100 children living with Tourette Syndrome (TS)—a neurological disorder characterized by uncontrollable movements or sounds known as tics.

Since its inception, NJ Walks for TS has emerged as a day of celebration and inspiration for kids, by kids and has grown to include Central and South Jersey.

“Assemblyman Wisniewski is lending his support to stand up for the TS community and we are grateful,” said NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice. “We hope his example leads many others who are willing to step out on behalf of the thousands of kids living with TS in NJ.”

For more information about NJ Walks for TS, visit www.njcts.org/walk. To join the  Honorary Committee, start a team or register for the walk, visit www.njcts.org or call Nicole Greco at 908-575-7350 or ngreco@njcts.org.

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NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee Welcomes Assemblywoman Quijano

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20) joins the NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20) joins the NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee

The NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders (NJCTS) welcomes Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20) to the honorary committee of the 6th annual NJ Walks for TS. This 5K walk and family fun run  is a day of advocacy, awareness, acceptance and action and will take place at Mendham Borough Park.

NJ Walks for TS at Mendham benefits the NJCTS Education Outreach Program, which educates students and teachers at schools in every corner of New Jersey about Tourette Syndrome, anti-bullying and self-advocacy; as well as doctors and other healthcare providers at hospitals across the state to identify and treat TS.  Each member of the Honorary Committee has a history of support for the 1 in 100 children living with Tourette Syndrome (TS)—a neurological disorder characterized by uncontrollable movements or sounds known as tics.

Since its inception, NJ Walks for TS has emerged as a day of celebration and inspiration for kids, by kids and has grown to become a statewide movement with events Central and South Jersey.

“We are grateful for Assemblywoman Quijano’s support and participation in this important event,” said NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice. “We hope her example leads many others who are willing to step out on behalf of the thousands of kids living with TS in NJ.”

For more information about NJ Walks for TS, visit www.njcts.org/walk. To join the  Honorary Committee, start a team or register for the walk, visit www.njcts.org or call Nicole Greco at 908-575-7350 or ngreco@njcts.org.

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Assemblyman Timothy Eustace Joins 6th Annual NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee

Assemblyman Timothy Eustace (D-38) joins the NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee

Assemblyman Timothy Eustace (D-38) joins the NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee

The NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders (NJCTS) welcomes Assemblyman Timothy Eustace (D-38) to the honorary committee of the 6th annual NJ Walks for TS. This 5K walk and family fun run  is a day of advocacy, awareness, acceptance and action and will take place at Mendham Borough Park.

NJ Walks for TS at Mendham benefits the NJCTS Education Outreach Program, which educates students and teachers at schools in every corner of New Jersey about Tourette Syndrome, anti-bullying and self-advocacy.  Each member of the Honorary Committee has a history of support for the 1 in 100 children living with Tourette Syndrome (TS)—a neurological disorder characterized by uncontrollable movements or sounds known as tics.

Since its inception, NJ Walks for TS has emerged as a day of celebration and inspiration for kids, by kids.

“We thank Assemblyman Eustace for his continued support and recognition of this event,” said NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice. “We hope to be joined by many others who want to step out on behalf of the thousands of kids living with TS in NJ.”

For more information about NJ Walks for TS, visit www.njcts.org/walk. To join the  Honorary Committee, start a team or register for the walk, visit www.njcts.org or call Nicole Greco at 908-575-7350 or ngreco@njcts.org.

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NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee Welcomes Assemblyman Ciattarelli

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16) joins the NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16) joins the NJ Walks for TS at Mendham Honorary Committee

The NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders (NJCTS) announces the addition of Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli  (R-16) to the honorary committee of the 6th annual NJ Walks for TS at Mendham. This 5K walk and family fun run  is a day of advocacy, awareness, acceptance and action and will take place at Mendham Borough Park.

NJ Walks for TS at Mendham benefits the NJCTS Education Outreach Program, which educates students and teachers at schools in every corner of New Jersey about Tourette Syndrome, anti-bullying and self-advocacy; as well as doctors and other healthcare providers at hospitals across the state to identify and treat TS.  Each member of the Honorary Committee has a history of support for the 1 in 100 children living with Tourette Syndrome (TS)—a neurological disorder characterized by uncontrollable movements or sounds known as tics.

Since its inception, NJ Walks for TS has emerged as a day of celebration and inspiration for kids, by kids and has grown to become a statewide movement with events Central and South Jersey.

“Assemblyman Ciattarelli is a friend to the TS community and we’re grateful for his continued support of NJ Walks for TS,” said NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice. “We hope his example leads many others who are willing to step out on behalf of the thousands of kids living with TS in NJ.”

NJ Walks for TS at Mendham will feature activities for families, music and an atmosphere of acceptance for all ages.

For more information about NJ Walks for TS, visit www.njcts.org/walk. To join the  Honorary Committee, start a team or register for the walk, visit www.njcts.org or call Nicole Greco at 908-575-7350 or ngreco@njcts.org.

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