Soccer star Tim Howard has a surprise message for students attending Dare To Dream Conference

North Brunswick, N.J., native has Tourette Syndrome and currently is playing for Everton of the Premier League in England


Tim Howard was large and in-charge in net during the United States National Team’s run during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Now, the goalkeeper who grew up in North Brunswick, N.J., will deliver a special message to the New Jersey students in grades 6 through 12 who suffer from Tourette Syndrome or associated neurological conditions at the 2012 Dare To Dream Student Leadership Conference on Monday, May 21, at Rutgers University.

This conference is the first be specifically geared toward helping students with Tourette, OCD, ADHD or Asperger’s Syndrome who are in transition focus on the importance of self-advocacy and leadership.

Hundreds of such students expected to descend upon Rutgers’ Busch Campus in Piscataway for the conference, which is being co-developed by The New Jersey Office of Special Education and the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS), and one of the first things they will see and hear is Howard’s message, as well as a slideshow featuring images of the soccer star.

“I want to encourage you to ‘dare to dream’ because dreams really do come true. I live with TS and through sheer hard work and determination, I’ve accomplished most, if not all, my childhood goals,” Howard says in his message, which was taped live from Everton’s practice facility in England.

“I challenge each of you not to let your disabilities define you, but rather set your goals and go for them,” added Howard, who was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome when he was in sixth grade.

The conference also will feature presentations from students and adults with neurological disorders who have demonstrated exemplary self-advocacy and leadership skills; breakout sessions, which will provide attendees insight into the transition process and skills to cultivate self-advocacy; peer-led workshops, including goal-setting, self-discovery, student self-advocacy and planning for the future; and more.

NJCTS Education Outreach Coordinator Melissa Fowler, M.A., M.Ed, believes the students who attend this conference will be riveted by what someone of Howard’s stature has to say — as well as getting a first-hand glimpse at his success story.

“We are honored that Tim Howard has chosen to deliver the opening message to our students at the Dare To Dream Conference,” Fowler said. “Tim has been a wonderful advocate for those with Tourette Syndrome, and this is just another in a long line of collaborations Howard has had with the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome. I am excited at what he has to say and believe the students will greatly benefit from his message of hope and determination.”


More information on signing up for the conference is available by calling NJCTS at 908-575-7350 or Bob Haugh of the New Jersey Department of Education at 609-633-6431, or by visiting https://njcts.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/DareToDreamConference2012.pdf. Melissa Fowler also may be contacted by e-mailing mfowler@njcts.org.

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New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, Inc.
Collaborative partnerships for the TS community.