Mimicry: The finest form of flattery

pic18456I recently got an e-mail from TSA announcing that this film would be airing on the Hallmark channel. I’d heard of it but never had the pleasure of watching it. I was hesitant about watching it because I was nervous about the effect it would have on my tics since being highly suggestive comes with the TS territory. However, at this point in my life when I’m working on starting a career myself, learning about other trail blazers like Brad Cohen is an important part of maturation.

According to IMDb, “Front of the Class” is about:

Despite suffering from Tourette’s syndrome, Brad Cohen (James Wolk) fulfills his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher in this touching Hallmark Hall of Fame production based on a true story that shines a light on this often misunderstood disorder. As Cohen grows up, he must face friends and classmates who don’t realize that he sometimes cannot control his outbursts, and a father (Treat Williams) who seems unwilling to accept his son’s condition.

Despite my concerns I was excited to watch the film. It was about someone with TS and how he had used determination and fortitude to accomplish a goal that many had thought impossible. Don’t worry, no spoilers here! While to the experienced eye of someone with TS there were a couple discrepancies, James Wolk’s portrayal of Mr. Cohen’s case of TS was amazing and looked completely unrehearsed.

While watching the “Front of the Class,” I experienced several emotions. Empathy, because I understood some of what he was going through, happiness during the good and funny parts (of course), and some stress. Even though, for the most part, I was engrossed while the film played, when the commercials came on, that’s when the tics along with built up stress occurred. I had bad vocal tics like squeaking, yelling and a sort of loud whining. The motors tics I experienced surprised me the most. I had several head shaking tics and one where (I was sitting on my bed at the time) I would fall over on my side and get back up repeatedly.

Part of having this disorder includes the brain’s ability to record observations and events and transpose parts of them into the form of a vocal and/or motor tic. That means a person can develop a tic sequence simply from observing others whether from a movie or real-time events.

This doesn’t have to limit what a person with TS watches or their life experience as a whole. Just keep in mind that if something has any sort of impact on you, it may translate into a tic later on. In this case it’s important to remember that tic cycles are temporary and even though there may be times when one has to avoid a certain situation, it doesn’t mean it’s permanent.