I have heard and read about a neurological condition called Tourette’s Syndrome, but I actually have not seen anybody who is affected with it, until one Saturday afternoon, at the mall.
A little boy, about 8-9 years old was frantically pacing in one of the aisles in a bookstore. I was observing him from a corner where I sat. He was looking at some books, took one from the shelf, scanned the pages, then returned it. While doing this, he was repeatedly clearing his throat, and made “barking” sound. By the look of him, he seemed excited to see those children’s books in front of him, and wanted to read all of them. I also could see jerky movements of his head. Sometimes, he puts a piece of stick in between his teeth, and bit it.
It was not only me who observed him, but most of the people inside the bookstore were looking at him, some, throwing an irritated glance because of his pacing and the noise he made. His mother, who was following him, felt so embarrassed, and guided him out of the bookstore. I called out: “No! let him find his book.” And then, I asked: “Tourette’s?” The woman looked at me, her lips bore a smile, and nod. Then, she whispered: “Thank you.”
I don’t know if the people around will check out what is Tourette’s Syndrome, but for sure, it is something to know about and understand. Because of people’s judgmental attitude and being insensitive, this condition is oftentimes misunderstood as a disruptive behavior.
It is just unfortunate though, because there is still no cure for this disorder. The person affected will have to live with it, and be emotionally strong to conquer the difficulties he or she will encounter. What we can do, is to be compassionate, because what these people need is to be accepted and should be treated just like everyone else.
April 17, 2010