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Youth Ambassador on mission to raise Tourette Syndrome awareness

Hi! My name is Emily Fleischman, and I have Tourette’s. I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) when I was 6 years old.  As I got older, I learned to control my “tics” because I was embarrassed and afraid someone would make fun of me. I would hold my tics in all day long until I got home to a safe haven. When I arrived home, I was exhausted and moody from a tiring “tic-free” day.

I am now 16 years old (a junior at River Dell High School) and have control over my problem. But that does not mean that I have forgotten how I felt when my tics attacked me.

I am on a mission to spread awareness for Tourette Syndrome and, in the process, prevent bullying. In April 2010, I became a Youth Ambassador for the Tourette Syndrome Association of New Jersey. I went to Washington, D.C., for training and had the opportunity to meet with senators and congressmen from New Jersey to discuss Tourette education.

I speak with students at schools about Tourette Syndrome. I explain what it is, along with why you should not make fun of or bully anyone for their disorder. This presentation is the same one that Jennifer Zwilling made, and I was taught this presentation at the Youth Ambassadors training.

The Youth Ambassador training was the first event I attended where I was interacting with other teens with TS and talking openly about TS. I have now attended multiple events where I have interacted with TS teens. If you have not attended one of these events, definitely look into it! It was a great experience.

I look forward to this blog taking off!

EmilyF

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