Janine Howley, on behalf of the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome, spoke Dec. 13 about TS to the faculty of the Milford Brooks School in Manalapan
MANALAPAN, N.J. – Barbara Lutsky had been trying for years to educate teachers in the Manalapan School District about Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder that affects as many as 1 in 100 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Despite the fact that her husband is a teacher and her now 8-year-old son Jared has Tourette, Lutsky wasn’t quite able to convey the message that TS often is undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or just plain misunderstood – and that children with the disorder need proper support, not only from their families and friends, but at school, too.
To get the answers she desired, Lutsky turned to the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS), who arranged for professional educator Janine Howley, MA, to speak to the faculty Dec. 13, 2011, at the Milford Brooks School in Manalapan.
Howley, who has more than 20 years of experience and has been a middle school Teacher of the Year in Ocean County, spoke to the teachers at Jared Lutsky’s school about Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders such as OCD, ADHD depression and anxiety using a power-point presentation designed by NJCTS.
“It was phenomenal. Even the vice-principal, who had never been to any kind of presentation like this, said he learned so much,” Lutsky said. “This presentation helped the teachers understand why the kids (with Tourette) are the way they are. And it’s important because this could affect not only my son, but another boy or girl two or three years from now who comes into the school. This educates all teachers for all children.”
One of the biggest reasons for Lutsky wanting NJCTS to do an in-service at her son’s school was that one teacher once said that her son was “faking” his symptoms just to get attention. In-service presentations aim to help educators not only understand what their students with TS or associated disorders are going through, but also how to develop strategies for accommodating such students and fostering an atmosphere conducive to success.
According to Lutsky, the presentation by Howley – who also has experience raising a now-adult son with TS – worked wonders.
“I think it was the fact that an educator presented the material that made the difference. She’s speaking as a teacher to other teachers,” Lutsky said, adding that Howley emphasized that “There is a real problem here. This is something that needs to be addressed in the schools. You can’t punish your child or your student with something that they are trying so hard to deal with.”
To schedule an educator in-service presentation for your school district, please call 908-575-7350 or send an e-mail with EDUCATOR IN-SERVICE in the subject line to email@example.com. More information also is available by visiting www.njcts.org.
# # #
New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, Inc.
Collaborative partnerships for the TS community.