On May 21, Ethan Lederman, 17, of Howell, and his mother, Tracy Lederman, presented to the New Jersey State Senate at the State House in Trenton about the need for more awareness about Tourette Syndrome and gave their support for the joint resolution, SJR16, permanently designating June 4 Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day in New Jersey.
“If feel like I have something to offer to help people, as a results of all I’ve been through,” Lederman, who is an NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome (NJCTS) Youth Advocate said. “If I could teach people just one thing about TS, I would tell them that it’s like an iceberg, where most of the stuff that makes life really hard is not just the tics that everyone can see, but it’s what’s under the surface out of sight.
Lederman has been struggling with TS and OCD since he was only three-years-old. His family has been involved with NJCTS through the years, connecting with other families for support, and allowing their son to meet other kids with similar struggles.
“If you had told me anytime in the first 17 years of my life, that I would ever feel in control, I wouldn’t have believed you,” he said. I’ve worked really hard to shrink my OCD to a point where my life is much more like a normal teen’s. My grades are A’s and B’s and I play several sports at school, and made new friends. Everyday still, I have to fight to keep my OCD from rising up and taking over my thoughts, and it can be exhausting, but I try to focus on how far I’ve come.”
The NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, the nation’s first Center for Excellence for Tourette Syndrome, is a not-for-profit organization committed to the advocacy of children and families with Tourette Syndrome and its associated disorders. Dedicated to delivering high quality services to these individuals, the Center recognizes the importance of educating the public, medical professionals, and teachers about this disorder through programs and affiliations with public schools, health centers, and universities. Visit www.njcts.org for more information.