Last week, I was in the biggest newspaper of the Netherlands — again! I finally got the time to translate the article, so here it is! The interview was done because a journalist saw the videos of my speeches in Athens, so I’m very proud of that. :)
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Laura Beljaars has Tourette Syndrome. Her goal is to show other young people that with this disorder, your dreams can come true as well.
By Marion van Es
Many people think that all Tourette patients constantly swear, while in fact it’s just a small part of Tourette patients who have this tic. There are tics that are way more common, but those are apparently not interesting or ‘funny’ enough. Which is too bad, because Tourette is different for every person.
For me it’s hard to filter all the things that go on around me, I have concentration problems and most of the time I’m very tired. When I was twelve, I had about 300 tics every 15 minutes, mostly twisting my eyes and tensing my muscles. Luckily I have never been bullied, probably because I’ve always been very open about my Tourette. Everybody can ask me anything they want.
I’ve always thought that I had to accept that I just couldn’t do everything. I wanted to help children so I started to study psychology, but I had to stop, because it was too much for me at that time. Later I realized that there are a lot of different ways to achieve a goal. I can do anything I want, I just have to take a detour sometimes.
At the moment I’m almost graduating college, to become an elementary school teacher. I would love to help children who have a difficult time at school, for instance because they have Tourette, ADHD or autism. I want to show them, that even with a disorder like this, your dreams can come true.
In April of this year, I had the opportunity to speak at an international conference about Tourette Syndrome. You can see the videos of those speeches at www.tourettelaura.nl. It was very special to show the human side of Tourette like this. Of course it was a bit scary to speak in front of this many important researchers in English, but the message I had, was more important than my nerves.
A lot of young patients hate their Tourette. That’s too bad, because that means you hate something within yourself. There is way more possible for you, then you might think.
I’ve taught many different grades at elementary school, but never did someone make a problem of me having Tourette. If you don’t make a problem of it yourself, most others won’t do that as well.
A lot of people think live is over when you have Tourette, even my mother thought that, back when I was just diagnosed. She says I taught her that this is not true.