Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2013 is treating people well so far!
In my last blog post, I wrote about the stress I was feeling about my upcoming performances and a presentation, which thankfully went pretty much as well as they could have done (hopefully – we haven’t got our grades back yet!).
Now we are starting this lovely new term with even more exams. Fun, right? So, while I’m on a train taking a break revision, I thought I would combine looking at the lovely snowy views with a new blog post with some new thoughts I have about this little ticcing world we are living in.
Last term, the presentation I had to do for my Special Educational Needs and Inclusion class was about the different models of disability. The first model was called the medical model (although this has also been referred to as the personal tragedy model).
The main focuses of this model is that the problem or disability was the individuals problem and control over this was given to professionals such as doctors to prescribe medicines and try and “fix” the individual. Action such as segregated schooling was put in place, with the hope that a different curriculum would be put in place to allow people with Special Educational Needs would be able to try and find a job once they reached the end of education.
The second model was the social model in which it was cited that it was society was disabling people, such as if there was someone in a wheelchair and there were only stairs leading up to a building it was society not enabling them to access to the building and it is society that must alter in order to allow everyone to function easily in everyday life.
Inclusive schooling was encouraged more, as everyone should be allowed to study from the same curriculum. However, this model and the legislation surrounding it were still drafted by the government and not people who have disabilities themselves, so there was still no control given to people with disabilities.
This leads nicely onto the Affirmative Model, which is all about empowering the person with the disability and allowing them to choose themselves what they want to do, if they want to be medicated for their needs, if they want segregated schooling they can choose that.
As we were working in groups, we met up one day and we were discussing how the different models impact people differently, and on a few topics I was able to give my own personal opinion (we were only in a group of 3, so I didn’t feel too exposed, as well both people in the group knowing me and my tics quite well).
I was asked, “Well, do you consider yourself to have a disability?” and I had to stop and think. The best answer I could think of was “Sometimes.” I think with the focus of the word “disability” being on the fact that you are unable to do something makes it harder to work out.
There are times when, for example, I can’t stand still, or very occasionally things like speech are impaired because of tic build-up, but other times I am perfectly fine. And other times where I feel I have extra abilities – for example my ability to catch things has improved significantly since I started having tics!!!
Within our group we each focused on one model of disability each, and I was looking at the medical model. Although this was the harshest model when critiquing the model I couldn’t help but see some very positive sides to it.
Obviously, the absence of an individual’s voice is never a good thing, but remembering back to when I was first diagnosed I couldn’t help but think a strict doctor telling me what was going to happen next, or the best thing to do would have been great.
As it was I felt like I was in limbo – being given a diagnosis was a relief on one hand as finally I had an explanation but on the other hand I had so many questions and queries and conflicting thoughts I felt like what I needed was someone to sit down with me, wearing a white coat just to prove they were much cleverer than I would ever be and explain what I could do, what I couldn’t, what Tourette meant and how it might now affect me.
Obviously, I found out the answers to these on a fairly need to know basis and have coped enough on my own, but maybe initially there should have been an option of someone just to talk to!
Another thing I would like to mention is yet another program in the UK with someone with Tourette Syndrome! Sadly the program is called “The Undatables,” so although there was someone with TS last series I refused to watch it because I thought it was such a horrible title.
But this time around I decided I ought to watch it because I like to keep on track with how TS is being portrayed in the media, and it also means that if someone I know watches it and asks me something about it I can give a fairly well-informed response.
The program focuses on different people with disabilities who are looking to form a relationship and discusses the problems that they might have with forming a romantic relationship. The whole point of the program is to prove that these people aren’t undatable and they are just the same as anyone else just want to be loved.
The program wasn’t all that bad, it wasn’t pitying the people on the program and gave fairly honest look into their lives. One aspect still aggravated me a little bit, though. The lad with TS asked his date if she was nervous to be going on the date with him and she replied “No, not really. I swear more than the average person anyway!” and that was that!
But the lad on the date did have coprolalia, so I suppose to him it was comforting to know that when he did tic she would know why and what it was (and I suppose anyone with coprolalia will feel some sort of relief that the swearing aspect of their tics is accepted and understood by so many people).
But I just wished someone on the program had stated that swearing is such a small part of TS. But, of course, they didn’t. But all the more reason for the rest of us to start getting our voices heard by the masses!
Now as my train is drawing closer to the station I will stop ranting and rambling and get back to revising. 🙂 Toodle pip!