Athens Day 2: Big names in the world of Tourette LOVED my speech!

LauraAthens2Today was the big day!

It started with listening until lunchtime, which was nice, so I could get used to the accommodations and the people and the vibe in the room. After lunch, my speech was the first one! I talked about my daily life with Tourette and all the co-morbid symptoms. It was very well received. I made everybody laugh, and they all seemed very interested.

Tourettes Action Conference October 2010Maybe the best thing about it was that Mary Robertson (she’s like, BIG in the world of Tourette; if you don’t know her, just Google her!) was there and she wrote down notes and was nodding as if she really liked what I had to say! When I was finished, she told me that I did a great job and she really liked it! So that was a very big complement, especially coming from her! That’s her at the right. :)

Then at the end of the day I had my (to me) most important speech. I’ve talked about the importance of teaching children how to live with Tourette and the positive sides, such as creativity. And I gave a few examples about achievements of people with Tourette: Tim Howard, Mariah Cary and, well, me.

During this speech, it was silent the entire time. Everyone was listening so closely that if I stopped talking for a moment, you could hear a pin drop! And during the speech I noticed quite a few people tearing up as well! I had some trouble with it as well — didn’t think I would have — but seeing all those people like that made it a bit harder!

After this speech I had a lot of people coming up to me to thank me for this speech. Of, course, especially my Dutch therapists, but a lot of other people as well. Even later on, apparently (I didn’t know that) the head of the European Society for the Study of Tourette Syndrome (ESSTS, the big organization that organizes this conference) came up to me and thanked me for my speech and congratulated me for doing so well. She wasn’t even in the room during my speech! So she’d heard from other people how great it was and that’s why she came to me!

After the closing of this day, we went to dinner with a big group from the conference. During dinner, the Dutch therapists I’m here with came up with a great idea! Because there were more workshops at the same time, my speech wasn’t heard by everybody in the Training School, so they figured I could do it again tomorrow!

But it gets better: They figured, why not do it at the meeting (Friday or Saturday) with all the big doctors and therapists?! So then it’s not just the beginning group of therapists and doctors who were there today (they work on a daily basis with children with TS, so very important, too!), but the real big names in the world of Tourette!

It’s not sure yet, but there’s a good chance because I had so many compliments — even of the head of the ESSTS, who wasn’t even there! I’ll probably hear it tomorrow!

It’s really cool, because I actually had an obsessive thought-story about this, but they usually don’t come true! To summarize: BIG day, GOOD day, HAPPY me. :) More tomorrow! Thanks for the support everyone.




  1. ive never heard of mary robertson but if u say shes important she must be! thats awesome!

    • She is! Really, just Google her, she’s done so much reseach! She’s been working with TS since 1980! She’s like the ‘grandmother’ of European TS studies :) (I didn’t know her before I knew about the conference as well ;))

      • i did google her and she seems very interesting and important. i just hadnt heard of her. do u think u will keep all these contacts and do something with them going 4ward?

  2. This is very impressive. You should be very proud of yourself. In the U.S., we have the Youth Ambassador program, which is similar. But it sounds as if you are speaking to far larger group of experts than anyone your age or younger here in the U.S. gets to do.

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