Archive for January, 2010

American Idol Contestant, Dave Pittman, Shocks Doogie Howser Because He Has Tourette Syndrome…….But Why?

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Dave Pittman, American Idol Contestant

Did you watch American Idol? Did you hear the news? This is what I heard over and over through facebook, emails and when I got to work the next day. Many of them wanted to make sure I had seen Dave Pittman on American Idol because they knew I would be interested.

The answer is yes, I saw American Idol and yes, I heard the news. I was really excited when I saw that Dave was being open and honest about living with Tourette syndrome. My biggest fear was that he was going to be a poor singer and the judges and America would then make Tourette syndrome the punchline of another bad joke. But then we heard him sing. The judges were into Dave as they nodded their heads up and down as they enjoyed what Dave had to offer.

But then, Doogie Howser M.D. stepped up to the plate. Like any other doctor, he recognized that Dave had a medical condition called Tourette syndrome. I was excited Doogie knew about Tourette’s. He even addressed it on air. I was proud of that too. Dave stood tall and accepted Doogie’s comments and explained he had TS. As many of us Touretter’s know, when we are concentrated on something, we don’t tic nearly as much. The judges were a little shocked by this.

The part that was disturbing was that the judges were actually surprised that a person with Tourette syndrome could actually be such a good singer and do it without the tics disrupting the performance. People with TS or any other disability live with this perception on a daily basis. People don’t believe in us and think we can’t do certain things.

I can already tell that Dave is similar to me. He will, and has already stepped up to the challenge. You see when someone tells me I can’t do something, or even if they “think” I can’t do something, it just motivates me more to prove them wrong. Dave now has the stage to show the world his own talents, while at the same time be a great role model for the millions of people who are a little different.

I guess you now know who I will be rooting for in this years American Idol competition, and I hope you will root for him too. Because we need to show people that we all have talents and when given the right opportunities, we are able to shine.

So what is the biggest shock? Is it that Doogie brought up the elephant in the room? Is it that Dave has a good voice? Could it be that a person with Tourette syndrome can find success when given a chance? Or could it be that dreams CAN come true when given a chance?

Step up to the plate America and turn your TV sets to this season’s American Idol on Fox. Let’s all hope that we can embrace Dave’s challenge and root for him because of his true talents. Vote the way you want, at least you know what I’ll be doing.

Get caught up with the latest news from the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation by visiting

Read the book or see the movie Front of the Class to learn more about Brad Cohen.

Cheers, Brad

Just a Reminder!

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Today, I had a little girl email me a simple question: How do you live with Tourette syndrome….with all the people saying stuff?

She went on to tell me she received the movie Front of the Class, and it was the best thing she got for Christmas.

It was just a simple reminder that kids are still figuring out the game of life. So with that, I remind everyone what has helped me overcome the challenges of living with Tourette syndrome. I hope these ideas help others move forward to follow their dreams.

1) Keep that positive attitude
2) Focus on your strengths…….show the world what makes you shine
3) Educate everyone who will listen and tell them about Tourette syndrome and the challenges you face
4) Never give up……every time someone tells you that you can’t do something, prove them wrong! Show them not only can you do it, but you can do it better than others
5) Surround yourself with people who believe in you
6) Don’t make excuses, because the first excuse will lead to another, after another, after another
7) Find your passion in life and go for it
8 Last but not least……….Don’t let Tourette syndrome win! Don’t allow any of your weaknesses in life get the best of you!

While we are talking about Tourette Syndrome, you can help support the National Tourette Syndrome Association by clicking on the link below and vote to help them win $1 million in the Chase Community Giving Contest. Spread the word. Each person gets five votes and be sure to place one with TSA. Thanks for the support!

Don’t forget, Front of the Class will be on CBS the evening of February 6, 2010.

You can also learn more about the Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation, Inc at

Cheers, Brad

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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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