Many of us will have heard of Tourette’s, and while we have heard of it, there is still a lack of understanding of what exactly it is and what it means for the person living with the condition. We’ve all seen the TV programmes and movies that have characters with Tourette’s and more often than not, these characters can are shown to be shouting out curse words loudly and are used for comic relief in the shows. That’s a huge problem because it does not represent what the condition truly involves. Yes, those outbursts are a factor but there is so much more to it than that.
If we look at the HSE’s website they tell us that:
“Tourette’s syndrome is a condition affecting the brain and nervous system (a neurological condition) that is characterised by involuntary, random sounds and movements, known as tics”.
What are these ‘Tics?’
Phonic (making sounds) – such as grunting, coughing or shouting out words
Physical – such as jerking of the head or jumping up and down
Tics can also be simple, meaning: involving moving only one muscle or uttering a single sound, or they can also be complex, meaning: involving a series of physical movements or speaking a long phrase
People with Tourette’s may have to live with any or all of the aforementioned, but we also have to consider the embarrassment, shame and social isolation that such an affliction can have on the individual.
In Ireland, there doesn’t seem to be much support for people living with the condition but one woman is doing her utmost to change this. That woman is Athlone native, Sandra Hewitt.
How is she going to try to change this? Listen here to find out