Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tourette's Syndrome - Books & TV

Tourette's Syndrome is often portrayed in movies and on TV as someone swearing uncontrollably.  Comedians make jokes about it and public figures use it to excuse themselves when they misspeak.   I wanted to point out a couple of books and a show where I have found Tourette's Syndrome portrayed more accurately. If you want to know more about Tourette's Syndrome or want to help a child understand it better, check out some of these:

"Against Medical Advice" is a non-fiction book by James Patterson and co-authored by Hal Friedman.  It tells about the Friedman's son, Cory, and their journey seeking help with their son's Tourette's Syndrome.  When Hal, the father, approached Cory about sharing their personal experiences, Cory agreed, in hopes it would help someone like him.  Thanks to this courageous family and their persistence in seeking answers in a cumbersome medical system, families like mine have had a much easier time accessing appropriate help for our children. This is a great read.

Picture book about Tourette Syndrome.

"I Can't Stop" by Holly L. Niner is a good book for explaining Tourette's to children.  The text gets a bit lengthy for my taste, but it is filled with good information and simple explanations.  As you follow a boy through his normal activities and life, you get a feel for how he copes with his Tourette's, and also how it affects him.  Reading this may give you ideas on how to explain your child's condition to others, and also how to help them deal with Tourette's as they interact with other people.  

Teen Fiction

"Michael Vey:  The Prisoner of Cell 25" is bestselling author Richard Paul Evans' first book for the tween and teen set.  This fictional book is the story of the title character, who happens to have a very unique power to channel electricity.  Oh, and by the way, Michael has Tourette's Syndrome.  Tourette's features in the book as simply a characteristic of Michael.  Evans does a good job of portraying a young man with Tourette's without making it the main focus of the book.  It is refreshing to see Tourette's handled this way in a novel.  Author Richard Paul Evans has Tourette's Syndrome himself, and his descriptions have authenticity.

Image from the Hallmark movie, "Front of the Class," starring James Wolk.

Brad Cohen is a man with Tourette's Syndrome, and also an award-winning teacher.  He wrote about his experiences in a book entitled "Front of the Class," and later Hallmark produced a movie about Brad with the same name.  This is an uplifting film appropriate for the whole family, and shows a man dealing with a disability in a positive way, and not letting it stop him from living a full and successful life.  Brad Cohen also operates the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation.

Of course there are other good books available dealing with Tourette's Syndrome, including several which give advice for parents.  But this list may give you a good introduction!

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