Archive for May, 2009

What’s The BIG Deal?

Friday, May 29th, 2009

whats-the-big-dealI received an email from a parent of a child with Tourette Syndrome which hits on a huge issue: What’s the big deal?


Here is the letter:
My 9-year-old child was having (in addition to his usual tics) a pretty severe episode of eye tics (rubbing, rolling and blinking) that had been going on for a couple of weeks. His Dad and I were wondering how in the world he could see enough to get anything done!

I asked him one day how things were going in school – I told him that I noticed that he was having a lot of eye tics and that I just wanted to make sure he could see enough to get his work done and learn what he needed to learn.

His response was “I can still hear!”

And that was that – he ran off to play …… his eye tics, as severe as there were, never seemed to phase him – it was as if he was saying that it did not matter if his eyes were ticcing a lot, as long as he could still hear he was cool – always looking on the bright side!!

I hope that he keeps that positive attitude and wonder what as a parent I can do to help him. 

I love this story because it’s a reminder of the resilience that children have no matter what issue that is placed in front of them.

Growing up with TS, I always knew what my “issues” were, but what I quickly noticed was that my “issues” were different then the “issues” my parents, teachers and the public was having. Overall, a child with TS, or any other disability, quickly learns to move on. In this case, the child has severe eye tics and what looks like a huge obstacle in life to the parent, but it wasn’t even an issue to the child. In matter of fact, the child more or less stated that things could be worse and at least he has his hearing.

What a great lesson in life! What is the big deal? You see, there is no big deal for the child because they figured it out. They learned to move forward despite their challenges. But parents want to be parents and protect their child and make sure everything is OK. Parents, continue to do this, but at the same time, give your child the benefit of the doubt.

So, what can parents do for their child? Support them, love them, let them know that you are there for them. And maybe most importantly in this situation, LISTEN
to them. This child stated loud and clear that he is fine and didn’t need their parents help at this time.

The lesson we take away is that children “figure it out and make it work.” Being in the classroom, I’ve had the opportunity to see my students do amazing things. Parents, be careful not to enable your child too much. Allow them to be problem solvers and figure things out for themselves rather than always catching them before they fall. Communication is the key.

The other big idea that the parent realized was about a positive attitude. As I wrote in Front of the Class it is important for children to keep that positive attitude. This is the perfect example of how a positive attitude allowed the child to move forward, instead of holding him back.

Thanks for sharing this conversation with our readers. As you can see, children with special needs just want to be treated like everyone else………even if they can’t see perfectly.


Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month May 15th – June 15th

Thursday, May 14th, 2009


What can you do?:

1) If you know a child who will benefit from attending Camp Twitch and Shout, have them visit our website to learn more about the camp. May 31st – June 5th, in the Atlanta, Georgia area. This 1 week overnight camp for kids could be the perfect fit. Accepting applications from children both in Georgia and outside Georgia. Click here to learn more!

2) Read a book about Tourette syndrome to learn more about the disorder. Then recommend it to others. Educators, parents and friends you know.

3) Watch a movie to learn more about TS and how it affects children and families.

4) Make a donation to the Tourette Syndrome Association in your area.

Thanks for your support. Education is the key and just educating one more person about Tourette syndrome will make the world a better place.

Brad Cohen, Author of Front of the Class

Front of the Class Now on DVD- Plus Teacher’s Guide for your Students

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Front of the Class DVD

It’s official, the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Front of the Class, is now available in Hallmark Stores around the country. Get your copy now and see a special “The Making of Front of the Class” section as an extra on the DVD. See behind the scene interviews with the actors and families of those involved in the production.

If your local store doesn’t have the DVD in stock, they will order more for you. This is one movie you don’t want to miss in your collection. And what a great gift to give a parent, student or educator down the road.

ATTENTION TEACHERS The Teacher’s Guide that goes along with the DVD is also ready. This is a great resource to use with your classroom when you discuss Character Education themes like acceptance, perseverance, positive attitude, passion, self-confidence, and much more. You can also have great discussions about bullying in the schools. The Teacher’s Guide is FREE. Click here to get your copy now!The Teacher’s Guide is good for elementary, middle and high school age students. I was involved in the development of the Teacher’s Guide along with the National Tourette Syndrome Association.

If you haven’t seen the movie, click here to get a little taste of what you have been missing.

Last but not least, even though Hallmark Hall of Fame has done an AMAZING job with the movie, people always say the book is better than the movie. Be sure to read the book  Front of the Class, by Brad Cohen.

Thanks for getting the word out!

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"Brad Cohen is a walking billboard for the idea of living positively. He is like a cold drink on a hot day--refreshing, energizing, and likely to put a smile on your face."
Tim Shriver - Chairman of Special Olympics

"I have observed the magic of Brad Cohen in the classroom. He has turned Tourette Syndrome into an asset, and his life into inspiration."
Senator Johnny Isakson, Georgia

"Brad Cohen's story is a triumph of hope, determination, will and relentless good humor."
Peter J. Hollenbeck, Ph.D., Professor and
Associate Head of Biological Sciences,
Purdue University

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