The following is the 6th and final part of a series of entries that, as a whole, comprise a paper titled “Tourette Syndrome: Coping With Difference” I wrote for a class I am taking at the University of Texas-San Antonio.
Many times throughout this inquiry, I wanted to give up. I was overcome with emotion because we’re still new to Jacob’s diagnosis. Doing research is one thing; inquiring is another. I could research all day and crank out a paper full of facts about what Tourette Syndrome is.
If I had chosen to write about the specifics of having TS, I could have easily typed a hundred pages of facts. My paper would have definitely been so much easier to write, but it wouldn’t have made me see myself as the person I want to be.
This inquiry did something for me that nothing in my entire college education has done so far; this inquiry made me realize how I passionate I truly am about becoming a special education teacher. I wanted so badly to create an inquiry that would be able to explore the sides of Tourette Syndrome that I was the most unfamiliar with.
I, with all honesty, know that I did not meet my goal of finding that “magical” answer. There is no one answer to teaching Jacob to cope. I searched through several perspectives and not even my interviews proved to be “golden keys”. What I learned is that those things do not exist.
Everyone is built and created differently in mind, body, and soul. The only person that can answer the questions for Jacob is himself. I can guide him and help him to create a support system that spans the entire universe, but he must ultimately accept himself before that support can lift him any higher.
As I heard individual stories it became personal for me. I started out trying to educate my community about Tourette Syndrome and ended up as more of student than I had started as. There is still so much to learn. As I re-read this inquiry over and over I feared that I did not give proper justice to this condition that is so misunderstood.
Now I know that I could never do that. I’m a parent and any time that Jacob becomes affected by the things life throws his way, I will be affected as well. I want to protect him, but he has to learn to protect himself. Like I mentioned, it’s hard for me to place my mind into a space I have never been confined to.
How can I teach him to cope with Tourette Syndrome? I can make sure that he is able to pursue his own kind of happiness. We try so hard to teach our children this one perfect path that they must follow. I have to let Jacob follow his own and allow him to embrace his difference by expressing it in his own way.
Jacob has to be willing to break the mold that society hands him. This is the way he will overcome any obstacle that stands in his way of success, not only during his school years, but his life later down the road. There are other people out there he can relate to that have Tourette Syndrome. They may not be able to lend him their coping skills, but they can lend him support. Through their stories he can learn to embrace his own. My hope is that Jacob will be willing to share his in the near future to educate and inspire others the way I have been inspired for this inquiry.
In the background I play the song “Let It Be Me” by Ray Lamontagne. It represents to me that relationship that I have with Jacob. I want him to turn to me whenever he needs someone to listen and be there for him. He’ll have relationships as he gets older that will more than likely create bonds that are unlike we have as mother and son. I will pray that those relationships allow him to flourish beyond the TS, beyond the label. I know how it feels to be alone. I hope that Jacob never knows that feeling.
Read more from me on my Embracing Difference page on Facebook.