This afternoon Ruth and I went for lunch with a family whose teenage son has Tourettes. His tics are similar in severity to mine and Ruth’s and although he’s met other people with Tourettes they’ve all had milder tics. I think it’s important to meet people whose experience is similar to your own. We had a lovely afternoon, although with the three of us ticcing away it was quite noisy.
Many parents of children with Tourettes understandably worry about their kids’ futures. Ruth and I have the sort of tics which are the most frightening for many people – swearing, self injurious, and loud. But we both work, have close friends and live active lives. I hope the young man we met today recognised that, and that it helps him and his family feel more confident about his future.
The family’s younger son is eight and doesn’t have Tourettes. I could see that it was probably quite tough for him at times. It made me think about the impact of my tics on my sister when we were growing up. Even though my tics were milder then, Fat Sister often bore the brunt of them, particularly hair pulling, biting and rage attacks. Despite this we have an extremely close relationship and she responds to and understands my tics like nobody else. I expect this is because she’s the only person other than me for whom they’ve always been a part of life.