Pediatric residents learn more about Tourette Syndrome from teens

Drew Friedrich and Sarah Ethridge had a lot to say at the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome’s patient-centered training April 9 at Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, N.J. And the pediatric residents to whom they spoke absorbed every word they spoke.

The packed room of pediatric residents learned more about Tourette Syndrome in 1 hour than they did during their entire time in medical school or during on-the-job experience. NJCTS’ patient-centered trainings are, simply put, THAT effective. But don’t take our word for it. Listen to what the chief pediatric resident had to say:

“I didn’t realize that you could actually suppress the impulses of the tics. That was interesting information for me,” said Angela Mukherjee, the chief pediatric resident at Goryeb. “I think we got a really good insight into how Tourette affects children on a daily basis and the struggles that they encounter. In the textbook, we learned what Tourette is and how to treat it, but it’s different in person. It was great. It was really educational.”

NJCTS’ story about the training can be read by clicking here, but we at TSParentsOnline would like to provide you with some exclusive behind-the-scenes quotes and information — straight from the parents, Donna Friedrich and Carol Ethridge, who were at the training with their kids!

Drew, 19, a freshman at the County College of Morris did just fine relaying his thoughts during the training, but his mother, Donna, had one very poignant thing to say during his presentation — and it caught the attention of the entire room:

“Very early on, everyone told him to stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it. He was diagnosed with allergies, and he didn’t have allergies. They wanted to diagnose him quickly without looking at the full Drew to find out what really was going on.”

Immediately after Donna concluded that statement, one of the pediatric residents shook his head and replied: “No matter how much you read or hear about it, it’s not the same as hearing someone like you come in and talk to us about it.”

Sarah, 14, a freshman at Chatham High School with an incredible ability to speak thoroughly with poise, made her mother, Carol, quite proud. Here are some of Carol’s thoughts that came up during Sarah’s presentation:

“It took two to three years to get to a diagnosis of what was feeding the tics and the OCD. And that’s what we could have used. The co-morbidities can sometimes be worse. Why didn’t they tell us that sooner? Her OCD, in hindsight, even presented itself before the Tourette did.”

That statement, in very similar fashion to the one by Donna Friedrich, prompted an almost immediate response from one of the pediatric residents: “Is there anything you wish your doctor would have done more or from the beginning?” Carol’s response again carried the room:

“When we got the diagnosis, my husband and I were so uninformed that we made a pact with the teacher not to share anything, and we thought that was the best thing, but it was the best thing. I realized that we had done a disservice, and now we tell everybody.”

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