Disability Awareness Training

I’ve been at a disability awareness training course all day. Because I hadn’t received anything asking if I needed any additional support, when I arrived I explained to the trainer that I had Tourettes. “Well, if I can’t handle that I shouldn’t be doing this job,” she said.

After she’d introduced herself, she asked each of us to say a bit about ourselves. The first woman who spoke gave her name and told us where she worked. Then she gestured at me and said, “I assume that lady has Tourettes, and I just need to say that I might leave the room if it gets too much.”

The trainer asked me how I felt about this, and I said it was fine, but added, “You know that I can’t control the noises or movements I make?” She said she did, and the introductions continued round the table.

While I always encourage people to be open with me, the woman’s comment left me feeling uncomfortable. Whenever I introduce myself I always introduce Tourettes too. I felt like my control over that had been undermined.

The rest of the session was interesting and the trainer encouraged me to share my experiences at relevant points. During a break she asked if I would consider delivering similar training with her in the future. I told her I would think about it.

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