Tourette Syndrome and the disorders commonly associated with it are often misunderstood, and they overlap and intersect with each other in complex ways. People of all ages with TS may experience a higher degree of social isolation, stigmatization, bullying, and discrimination. For children, the effects of Tourette Syndrome and its associated disorders create a disruption of typical childhood development and experiences, particularly in their social and academic lives. A view of one’s self as successful, capable, as having possibilities, and a feeling of social relatedness and connectedness are basic human needs which build resilience and are critical components of a positive outlook on life. For all young people, but especially for those who face TS and its inherent challenges, resilience is key.
The NJCTS Tim Howard Leadership Academy is designed to develop self-leadership, advocacy skills, and resilience in teens with Tourette Syndrome (TS) and its associated disorders. The program increases the participants’ understanding of their disorders and provides opportunities and a safe environment to explore and identify their strengths, challenges, needs, and skills. The Academy provides an intentional space to build critical skills that will help young people with TS, like Tim Howard, to excel and, through that success, inspire others.
The GreaTS Manifesto
Let’s not pretend Tourette Syndrome doesn’t make us any different. It does. It has its immense challenges. And setbacks. But because of these daily hard-fought battles. We’re stronger. We feel more. Sense more. See more. It’s when we stop hiding and start accepting our beautiful quirks that we can beat down this condition. Let’s harness our focus on the good. The things we love. A soccer field or stage or blank canvas or scientific equation. Let the tics and distractions inspire the bursts of brilliance. The impulsive genius. The athlete, writer, teacher, musician, teen, parent. That’s when we’re free. Free to step out from behind the shadow of TS. Free to dream. Free to be our amazing selves. Sure, we’ll have our hard days, but nothing can stop us from having the glorious ones. Be anything we want to be. Be one of the GreaTS.