Parents weigh in on mystery illness in LeRoy, N.Y.

The story that has been streaming out of LeRoy, N.Y., over the past couple of months has caught the attention of the entire nation: More than a dozen female students suddenly developed Tourette Syndrome-like symptoms, and no one has been able to fully explain it.

Many explanations have been offered – from mass hysteria created by news reports and social media, to “Conversion Disorder” to the possible lingering effects of an oil spill in the area more than 40 years ago – but as each day comes to close, there are more questions than answers.

Parents all over the country have expressed their opinion – anywhere from indifference to outrage – and those inside the tightly knit Tourette community are no different. Parents who frequent the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders’ (NJCTS) TSParentsOnline blog have been asked to weigh in with their thoughts on this case, and they have responded. Here is what a few of them have said:

“My 12-year-old Son has TS, and I know it is largely affected by stress. I don’t really agree with the whole ‘Conversion Disorder’ theory. I think it is quite possible that the group of students could be stressed out by a certain teacher, perhaps, and that could definitely cause it. I know it has for my son.” – Patrina D.

“It is very mysterious. Honestly, I think that it has to have a neurobiological component such as a propensity towards TS. Maybe they all have distant family members with TS or common co-morbid conditions such as OCD, anxiety, ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder?” – Holly M.

“I am a mental health professional and was furious that these girls were given a psychiatric diagnosis (i.e. mass hysteria). A doctor who was not able to come up with some sort of medical answer just came up with some Freud-like diagnosis. Too many people given air time who know not about what they speak!” – Gayle F.


Read more from these and other parents, plus participate in the discussion, at TSParentsOnline.