Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Educating my RA about my Tourette's!

Hey guys! I just sent this message about my Tourette's to the RA (Residential Adviser) who is a senior at my college and who will be living on my floor next year supervising us crazy sophomores! She seems like she is going to be really nice! Let me know what you think about the message I sent her. I tried to make it more informal but that kind of didn't work out because I talk pretty formally in general if you can't tell from the way I right! Guess it was just the way I was raised! No slang in my house, lol.

"My name is Ruthie, I am a PNP major and a creative writing minor. I love poetry, dogs (I have a golden doodle named Brandy who is super cute!), being a counselor at summer camp for kids in Georgia, and hanging out with friends. My favorite food is either Sushi or Mexican food and I'm in a sorority on campus. The reason I wanted to send you this message though is to let you know about a condition I have called Tourette's Syndrome, but first I wanted to let you know a little about myself because having Tourette's isn't something I use to describe myself. It's not something that defines me but it's something that's been a big part of my life.

Most of the people on our floor already know me and know about my Tourette's since we all pretty much lived together last year which is great! But there are also new people on the floor this year. So It'll be really helpful for you to know about my Tourette's and what it is since you're my RA and since at some point a person who doesn't know me may very well approach you to either make a noise complaint or express concern. I promise you that my tics bother me more than they bother anyone else, and that they are something I can't control, not something I do to purposely bother other people.

So anyway here are some basics! Tourette's is a neurological disorder that causes movements and noises that are involuntary called tics. When I tic, it's not my choice to tic, and I'm not intending to disturb anyone; it's just something that happens to my body that I can't control. A lot of people think that everyone with Tourette's swears uncontrollably but that's acctually only about 10% of people with Tourette's, so that part is pretty rare. I don't have the kind of Tourette's that causes you to swear. I have motor (physical) tics and noise tics.

Tics can and do change, so the tics I have right now could go away and be replaced by other new tics at any time. Some tend to stick around while others tend to get replaced. Tics also vary in severity from hour to hour and day to day. I don’t tic all the time and it may just so be that you never will notice, see, or hear a tic from me. It may be though that you will see a lot of tics from me. It really just depends on a number of different things. Some days I'm ticcing a lot and some days I don't tic much at all.

Some of my motor tics right now are head movements, facial twitches, blinking and rolling my eyes, body jerks, hitting myself in the chest or stomach, falling on the floor, and the general inability to keep still at times . Some of my vocal tics right now sound like coughs, sneezes, or like sniffling, and some of my other vocal tics sound like dog barks or whimpers, squeals, squeaks, or generally random noises.

Now I know some of these things may sound pretty intense but like I said before, it may just be that you don't really see many of my tics. I just want to let you know about them so that in case you do see them or get questions from anyone else on the floor about it you'll know what's going on. I promise you that even when my more serious looking tics happen, like falling on the ground, there no need to call EST or anything like that! I have been dealing with Tourette's pretty much all my life so I know exactly what I need to do when this happens. I actually seriously doubt that you will see any of my falling tics or that there would ever be a situation that would warrant even considering calling EST, but it has happened before where my tics end up looking pretty serious so I just want to make you aware of it. I just never know what Tourette's is going to throw at me next sometimes. It likes to surprise me, lol.

Also I'm NOT shy about talking about Tourette's at all! I'm a counselor at a camp for kids with Tourette's in Georgia in the summer and am very involved in leadership with the Tourette's Syndrome Association during the year. So I do a lot of advocating for myself and for others so please feel free to ask me any questions at any time either in person or over facebook. Really, don't hesitate to ask any questions! I've heard pretty much all the questions out there. Also sometimes my noises can be silly or funny so please do not feel embarrassed for laughing once in a while! Truthfully when my friends joke with me or laugh about my tics, it makes me feel more at ease and more relaxed. Most of the time the best policy though is to just ignore them!

Oh and if you want to find more info on Tourette's in addition to asking me questions, feel free to visit the National Tourette's Syndrome Associations website: http://www.tsa-usa.org/
So thanks for reading this message! Sorry it is kind of long but it's hard to fit all the things I should tell someone about Tourette's into a short message. I gave you the important basics though! Anyway, I'm really looking forward to meeting you and the couple of new people on our floor who I haven't met yet as well!"


  1. That's very informative :) I hope you have a good year at school!

  2. Great post! I used your email as a template for emailing my College Teachers.

    Thanks! -Alec