Ticcing Off

While yesterday’s comment about Tourettes by David Cameron created a lot of debate in the media, at first little of the coverage included the views of people with Tourettes. Fellow blogger Nicky Clark whose daughter has Tourettes spoke eloquently on the BBC. But the voices of people with tics were absent.

Initially some radio stations were reluctant to interview me for fear my swearing tics might cause offence. I was not prepared to have them edited or bleeped out because this would be censoring my disability. I was curious to find out if any UK stations would have the courage of the CBC who broadcast an unedited interview with me across Canada on their flagship drive time show last year. I wasn’t expecting much but it turns out I was wrong.

My first interview was with Radio 5 Live host Stephen Nolan last night and the overwhelming response to it was very positive – they even replayed it later in the same show. I followed this up by talking to Nicky Campbell on his breakfast show this morning. Both Stephen and Nicky asked thoughtful questions and I hope they, along with their listeners, learnt something new about the complexities of Tourettes.

I’ve been touched by the many positive responses I’ve had. I think hearing what tics sound like is an important part of raising awareness and promoting understanding of Tourettes. In contrast, this blog makes it possible for me to share my thoughts without constant interruption from the tics.

My post from yesterday has been published in today’s Guardian. I hope the combination of this article and the radio interviews will help convince people that David Cameron’s comment shouldn’t be brushed off as a harmless gaffe. For as long as people still think it’s acceptable to turn prejudice into cheap jokes, I’ll keep writing this blog. That’s what changing the world one tic at a time is all about.

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