NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome’s Peer In-service Program is about empowerment
PINE BROOK, NJ- When Sarah Ethridge talks, kids listen. This was the case in Pine Brook when the NJCTS Youth Ambassador met with more than 75 fourth graders at Hilldale Elementary School.
The topic was Tourette Syndrome (TS)- a neurological disorder known for uncontrollable movements and sounds known as tics. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 100 people show symptoms of the disorder. TS is often accompanied by learning disabilities and mental health disorders including depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The students not only had the chance to listen and talk with Ethridge, but they had an opportunity to ask their classmate who has TS some questions about the condition.
“[The presentations] arm kids with the knowledge necessary to empathize with, and tolerate, people’s differences,” said Ethridge, “They were a great group of fourth graders with lots of questions.” NJCTS Youth Advocate Sarah Ethridge, of Chatham, talks to fourth graders at Hilldale Elementary School in Pine Brook as part of a Peer In-service presentation about Tourette Syndrome.
The NJCTS Education Outreach Program delivers in-service trainings for faculty and students. Faculty presentations are led by master’s level educators with personal knowledge of TS. Peer inservices are presented by specially trained NJCTS Youth Advocates- young men and women with Tourette Syndrome and demonstrated leadership abilities.
Students, faculty and parents report a greater sense of cooperation and understanding in the classroom following NJCTS in-services. These presentations are made upon request. Parents, educators and healthcare professionals are welcomed to contact NJCTS at 908-575-7350 to request an faculty or peer presentation.