Posts Tagged ‘tourette syndrome’

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month: A Conversation with Brad Cohen and Kid Author Dylan Peters

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Double Click Flyer to Enlarge and Read

The call with Brad Cohen and kid author Dylan Peters will be on Saturday, June 12th at noon/EST and will last 1 hour. Learn how children can become advocates for themselves and how one boy decided to not only tell his classmates, but tell the world about TS through his book, Tic Talk: Living with Touretre Syndrome, A 9-year-old boy’s story in his own words.  

Feel free to email us questions to read during the call. The conference call is free to the public.

E-mail us and ask for calling numbers and access codes for the conference call. When you email us, an auto-respond email will be sent to you with instructions:

You can also click here to learn more about TS Awareness Month

Feel free to share this information with anyone who may be interested. Education about Tourette Syndrome will continue to make a difference for those who live with the condition daily. This event is sponsored by The Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation. Thanks for the support of Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month!

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

Ask Brad: What motivated you to keep going rejection after rejection when you were trying to find a teaching position?

Monday, December 29th, 2008
Don't Give Up!

What made me never give up?

You did! Everybody did! Tourette Syndrome did! As you heard in the movie, I didn’t want Tourette Syndrome to win!  If I allowed it to win, then TS would always win.  For me it was about no excuses!  The first time you start making excuses for yourself, it is very difficult to stop.

There were too many people waiting for me to say I can’t do it because of Tourette Syndrome.  The more times I got rejected and denied a teaching opportunity, the more it made me what to get that job.  I knew I could do it, I just needed to find one person that believed in me too.  By my 25th interview, I had the confidence with my interview skills.  I knew what the principals were going to ask before they even asked it.  My answers were ready to go and I wanted that job.

Many people have obstacles that are placed in front of them throughout their life.  This was a pivotal moment for me.  My mom kept saying “Come back to St. Louis because you know people here.”  My dad said “To go be a substitute teacher and then I would eventually get the job.”  But that’s not what I wanted.  I couldn’t give in.  By my 25th interview I wanted that teaching position so bad. And then it happened where I was finally hired as a 2nd grade teacher.

So, what can I tell others who are looking for a job and have some sort of disability or weakness in life:

  1. Don’t give up!
  2. Don’t make excuses!
  3. Be motivated to prove others wrong when they doubt you!
  4. Set high expectations and get to that mark!
  5. Keep that positive attitude.  Once it becomes negative, it is hard to go back!
  6. If you want something bad enough, sometimes you really have to work hard at getting it!
  7. Don’t look for self pity and for other to feel sorry for you.  It won’t get you your job or the goal you have set out for any faster.  Stay strong.
  8. Read my book, Front of the Class, or see the movie! (Of course I’m adding this.  My success story is now in book and movie form so I can share my story with others so they can see that if Brad Cohen can do it, then so can they!)

What advice can you give others to help them achieve their goals? Have you struggled to achieve something that took you a while to get?

Ask Brad: What medications or alternative medicines should we take for Tourette Syndrome?

Monday, December 22nd, 2008
To med or not to med, that is the question?

To med or not to med, that is the question?

To med or not to med, that is the question?  And although you are looking for me to give you a quick fix answer, unfortunately I can’t.  In matter of fact, every person living with Tourette Syndrome reacts differently to the medications.  So it is hard for me to come right out and tell you a medication you should use.

But what I can say it that there are a lot of options.  Alternative natural approaches have proved to work for many people.  Things like staying away from artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrups, certain dye colors in food and much more could help you.  Or certain diets to have high fish oils or lots of protein could help.

Shelia Rogers wrote a book titled Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourettes which could be beneficial to read.

The main thing to remember is that there is not a cure for Tourette Syndrome.  The other important factor to consider are the side effects of medications.  A lot of people with TS also have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the medication that helps one issue could make the other issues worse.  So I always say treat the issues which is the biggest problem at the time, then move on to the others.  Often times people say the OCD is worse than the ADHD and TS issues. Once again, it is different for different people at different times.

When we discuss medications, I STRONGLYsuggest speaking with a doctor first.  They have experience and know the potential side effects.  Some medications require EKG’s be done to track the heart while other medications may cause low blood pressure.  Please seek medical advice when it comes to medications.

You can check with your local Tourette Syndrome Association for a list of recommended doctors in your area who deal with Tourette’s.   There may also be some support groups where you can chat with other parents about what has worked for their children.

I’d also recommend the book Children with Tourette Syndrome: A Parents’ Guide.  This has much needed information which could help.

You should also remember that when it comes to Tourette’s little things could help ease the tics:

  1. Get a lot of sleep so you are relaxed the next day
  2. Have a healthy diet
  3. Listen to relaxing music on the way to school/work or even while you are at school/work
  4. Stay away from caffeine’s like soda, coffee and chocolates
  5. Make sure other people around you understand Tourette’s because when you know others know about your condition, it is less stressful for you
  6. Take frequent breaks and get up and walk around for a few minutes throughout the day
  7. Drink lots of water
  8. Know your schedule before you start the day
  9. Build up your confidence in whatever it is you are doing, it will create less stress
  10. Focus on your strengths and celebrate your successes with friends and family

These are just a few things I have seen work for me and others.  Can you think of other things to add to this list?

Ask Brad: At what age should we start telling people our child has a disability?

Saturday, December 20th, 2008
Bringing All Children Together

Bringing All Children Together

This is one of the most frequent questions I have been getting.  I believe that it is never too early to educate others about your disability or weakness you may have in life. 

As you saw in the movie Front of the Class, after I educated the students in Middle School, life started to get better for me.  I soon began telling the same 2 minute speech about how I have Tourette Syndrome on the first day of school in each class I had.  I then did it at big conventions for my youth group, I did it on the first day of camp and much more.  It just began to be part of me and my way of surviving a life with TS.

I’ll never forget that day in Middle School when we educated everyone about TS.  It was like this huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.  Finally TS wasn’t just my secret, now it was a chance for others to make the decision of how they were going to handle the news.  Were they going to accept me as who I was, or would they make the choice to not be my friend because I was a little different.  Either way was fine with me.  I’ve known what it was like to have no friends.  I’m not sure it could get any worse?

Click here to go to my website author page where you can scroll down towards the bottom and click on the “Listen to Brad Read a Chapter” section. Press play and listen as I read the part in the book where I gt up to educate the students about Tourette Syndrome.

So my advice is to educate people early.  It is never too early to tell others about TS.  Many times other people just don’t know.  So by being up front and honest about living with TS, it helps others understand the issues you are going through.

Don’t be ashamed of TS or the disability.  When your child sees that you are ashamed of it, then they will become upset too.  Try the following to educate others:

  1. Books like Front of the Class or Tic Talk– Read the entire book or just pick short passages to share and then discuss how it relates to you.  If it is another issue, find books that talk about your topic.
  2. Movies like Front of the Class or the HBO special “I Have Tourette’s But Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me”  These are both great resources to use.  Each has a resource guide to go along with it. There are many movies for many topics available.
  3. Comic books about TS.  The TSA of Georgia has them.  Click here to order them from Tricia.
  4. A Question and Answer Session with the child and the teacher with the class listening.
  5. Disability Awareness Week- Have the child educate others about the issues they deal with everyday and then tell the students how they can help.
  6. Do a fundraiser for your charity.  Have education happen along the way.

Many of these ideas could help you educate others who are not aware of your issues.  What other ideas have you used?  What are some ways we can make it easier for children to educate others about Disability Awareness? What is the youngest age you have educated others about your issues?

Movie Question: Did Jimmy Wolk and Dominic Scott Kay really have Tourette Syndrome?

Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Brad, Dominic and Jimmy hanging out in between sets

Brad, Dominic and Jimmy hanging out in between sets

Neither Jimmy Wolk or Dominic Scott Kay had Tourette Syndrome in real life. They are both actors. They both did an amazing job learning about my tics. The director video taped me before they started shooting the film as I talked about my Tourette’s. I explained all the tics I’ve had and how and when I do them. I explained that their is a method behind the madness with TS and that each tic has its own reason behind it. They also watch old video tapes of me growing up and during my first year of teaching. In order to assure the tics were consistent throughout the movie as well as between Jimmy and Dominic, they had a dialect coach to work with them the entire time. Mary MacDonald, also the voice of on-star and other voice-overs, was their coach. She did an amazing job working with them for over 5 weeks. Both Jimmy and Dominic said they were worn out after each day of shooting the film because of all the tics they did. They told me they could get a massage on set whenever they wanted.

How did you think Jimmy and Dominic did acting as a Touretter?

Movie Question: Did I see the real Brad Cohen and Nancy Cohen in the movie?

Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Brad and Nancy Cohen make their cameo appearance in Front of the Class

Brad and Nancy Cohen make their cameo appearance in Front of the Class

YES YOU DID!  Brad and Nancy Cohen can be seen in their cameo appearance after the orchestra concert as little Brad is getting up out of his seat and heading to the front of the auditorium with his principal.  Brad and Nancy Cohen are standing in the back acting like teachers.  It is a quick 2 or 3 seconds so don’t blink.

We thought this would be the best scene to have us in because it was the most important scenes in the movie.  It was at this point in my life when I realized the power of education.  It was from this moment forward where I knew I wanted to be that teacher that I never had.

This scene took almost 8 hours to shoot because as the director, Peter Werner, stated “We needed to get this scene right because it is such a powerful moment in the movie and in Brad’s life.”

Did you get a chance to see me and Nancy?

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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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