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TAA Teen Summit

The Tourette Association of America (TAA) hosted our first ever virtual Teen Summit as a fun, exciting, and educational forum for teens and youth to learn more about TS and Tic Disorders. Centered around Adjusting to Change, especially during such an unpredictable and challenging time, teens had the opportunity to connect with peers, discuss topics that are important to them, and get their burning questions answered.

Mindfulness Activity

Why Should I Meditate? 

That is a great question and I have four answers.

  1. Mindfulness Meditation can help you to focus. 
  2. Mindfulness Meditation can help you to manage your emotions. 
  3. Mindfulness Meditation can help you to remember stuff. 
  4. Mindfulness Meditation can help you to become kinder and more compassionate. 

And, in my 30 minute session, we’ll talk about and practice all of that. 

I Can Statements (Active Learning Targets) 

I can define Mindfulness Meditation. 

I can engage in practices to support my focus, emotions, memory and compassion. 

I can explain how to begin a Mindfulness Meditation practice (should I decide I want to).

Presented by: Erica Ebert

Erica Ebert, is the co- owner and founder of The Balanced Living Center. She has taught yoga & meditation for over 15 years and also has had a distinguished career as a High School English Teacher, Instructional Specialist, and Curriculum Writer. Her trainings with the faculty of the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts Medical led Erica to develop a Mindfulness in education curriculum for the Webster CSD, as well as the creation of her own Mindfulness Certification Program. Erica is currently the Staff Development Trainer in SEL for WFL BOCES 

In addition to her work at BOCES, she works across NYS with both coaches and athletes. Erica also develops and leads trainings in Mindfulness Meditation for educators, administrators and superintendents across several NYS counties. 

Erica is  a level two Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (a program designed to cultivate one’s natural capacity to actively engage in self-care and find greater balance, ease and peace of mind through mindfulness & yoga) teacher through Brown University, where she is on a pathway for certification.

Resiliency and Depression Discussion and Activity

Building Resilience: Finding Strengths in the Struggles
12pm – 1pm EST

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it,” said Helen Keller. This presentation will briefly identify common psychosocial struggles of those living with tic disorders. The bulk of the presentation will outline how to build resilience and grow through life’s adversities.

Takeaways:

1) Define resilience within psychological, relational, and cultural frameworks

2) Identify key factors in the development of resilience and growth

3) Overview ways to develop realistic optimism, social support, and flexible awareness

Presented by: Kenneth W. Phelps, Ph.D.

 Kenneth W. Phelps, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Adjunct Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Prisma Health – University of South Carolina Medical Group. Phelps co-leads the Tic and Tourette Center of South Carolina (TiC SC) and serves as faculty within the Behavioral Therapy Institute (BTI) of the Tourette Association of America. Dr. Phelps specializes in the therapeutic care of youth through emerging adults with tic disorders, OCD, and relational difficulties.

Vision Board Activity

Visualizing a Fantastic Future: Creating a Vision Board
1pm – 1:45pm EST

Bring along a photo or object with meaning to share with the virtual group!

A vision board is a special space that displays your goals, how you want to feel and your hopes for the future. By creating a vision board, you are making your goals visible. That way, you are able to access this important information about yourself every day, which is particularly important during this current pandemic, when you may be feeling more lost and overwhelmed than usual.

Presented by: Katrina Hermetet-Lindsay, PhD, NCSP and Allen Shoaff, Tourette Association Ambassador

Dr. Katrina Hermetet-Lindsay is a licensed clinical psychologist, a pediatric school psychologist at Akron Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). She is the director of the Tic and Tourette Service, a recently designated Center for Excellence, and a certified CBIT provider. Prior to her faculty and clinical appointment, she completed her doctoral training in Pediatric School Psychology at Lehigh University, her internship at Rutgers University Behavioral Health/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and her fellowship at Akron Children’s Hospital. She continues to train both medical residents and psychology fellows regarding effective assessment and treatment for Tic Disorders.

Allen Shoaff is a student at Perry High School in Canton, Ohio. Allen is a junior and is graduating in 2021. He is a tic and Tourette patient at Akron Children’s Hospital, and Tourette Association of America Youth Ambassador. Allen was officially diagnosed with Tourette syndrome in 2017, and has been a Tourette patient at Akron Children’s Hospital since. He was accepted as a Youth Ambassador and went through training in 2019.

OCD Panel

Coping with OCD during tough times
2pm - 3pm EST

This session will describe what OCD is, management strategies for decreasing its effect in daily life, and the intersection between tics and OCD. YA Andrew Fogarty and RL Bethany Deluca will talk about how they have disclosed their OCD to others, share their experiences with OCD, and describe management strategies for home and school. 

 Takeaways:

  • Understanding OCD
  •  Understand ERP- what exposure and response prevention is and how it works
  • Telling the difference between tics and OCD
  •  Understanding Tourettic OCD
  •  Participants will learn strategies on how to self-advocate and disclose their OCD
Presented by: Shannon Bennett, Ph.D., Heather Adams and Helene Walisever

Shannon Bennett, Ph.D. is licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in cognitive behavioral interventions for children, adolescents, young adults, parents, and families suffering from Anxiety Disorders, Tic Disorders, OCD and other related conditions. Her clinical practice includes individual therapy, group therapy, parent/child work, and parent training for youth, young adults, and their families using state of the art, research-supported psychotherapy interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). For more information on Dr. Bennett you may visit, https://weillcornell.org/sbennett.

Self-Advocacy and Disclosure

Awesomely, Painfully Vulnerable
3pm – 4pm EST

During this presentation, Ben will discuss how having conversations he’d avoided his entire life changed everything for him, and how you can do the same. Conversation isn’t a new concept by any means, but it’s wild how elusive it can be in any meaningful sense. Ben started Tourette’s Podcast to connect with other Touretters and discuss things he’d bottled up for so long, and in the process found a universe of people who could relate and help one another find entirely new ways of explaining their own conditions. For those who go there with good vulnerability, the effects ripple out into other aspects of life and create positives you probably didn’t think possible.

Takeaways:

  • Stop seeing vulnerability as weakness; it’s like exercise, and you’ll see the benefits.
  • Find new ways of relating to people who are completely different from you, and in turn help them understand where you’re coming from.
  • How to balance powerful openness and honesty against the notion that you’re “just looking for attention” or “drama.”
Presented by: Ben Brown, Host of Tourettes Podcast

Ben Brown is the creator of Tourette’s Podcast, a weekly podcast sponsored by the Tourette Association of America. On the show, Ben talks with strangers who have Tourette Syndrome — sometimes it’s their first time talking openly about it — to learn how they’ve dealt with it, what still challenges them, and how their identities are shaped by it all. Ben was diagnosed with TS when he was a little kid and hid his disorder from his friends and coworkers until his late 30s. Opening up changed everything. Ben, who lives in North Carolina, is a former newspaper journalist working today as a photographer, podcaster and writer.

Navigating High School

4pm - 4:45pm EST

High school can be an intimidating, yet exciting time. Students may face many new changes including making new friends, becoming more independent, learning new subjects, and exploring new extracurricular activities. Sometimes, having TS can be an added challenge during high school. Students may be unsure about letting their classmates and teachers know they have Tourette Syndrome. Join Youth Ambassador Jordan Patterson and Rising Leader Hayley Pennigton as they talk about their experiences navigating high school and adjusting to their changing environments.

Takeaways:

  • Managing TS and co-occurrences in high school
  • Balancing academics and extracurricular activities 
  • Managing friendships and social situations
  • Educating peers and teachers about TS
Presented by: Hayley Pennington, TAA Rising Leader and Jordan Patterson

Hayley Pennington is 23 years old from Virginia Beach, VA and is a YA Rising Leader for the TAA. She graduated from Old Dominion University in 2019 with a B.S. in Psychology and is pursuing admission to Physician Assistant school.

Keynote Address + Burning Questions

5pm - 6pm EST

Shane Koch is the Teen Summit’s Keynote Speaker! Shane, a 16-year-old Tik Tok influencer, will share his journey with Tourette Syndrome. He will also discuss how his dog Callum, along with creating content for Tik Tok, has helped him manage tics and deal with TS.

After Shane’s address, join the TAA as we answer a series of burning questions submitted online by teens and young adults. Questions include:

  • How do you deal with TS in school?
  • What is the best advice you have ever been given about handling your Tourette as a kid/as a young adult?
  • What was it like getting a driver’s license? Did the instructor have concerns or did you have to explain what tics were and why you had them?

 

Panelists: Shane Koch, Ben Brown, and more TBA!

Ben Brown is the creator of Tourette’s Podcast, a weekly podcast sponsored by the Tourette Association of America. On the show, Ben talks with strangers who have Tourette Syndrome — sometimes it’s their first time talking openly about it — to learn how they’ve dealt with it, what still challenges them, and how their identities are shaped by it all. Ben was diagnosed with TS when he was a little kid and hid his disorder from his friends and coworkers until his late 30s. Opening up changed everything. Ben, who lives in North Carolina, is a former newspaper journalist working today as a photographer, podcaster and writer.

Florida teen Shane Koch is spreading Tourette awareness on his “Callum the Ridgy” TikTok page. The videos have helped him garner more than 1.4 million followers since January 2020. Shane hopes to continue educating the public and advocating for Tourette Syndrome through social media and community presentations. He also hopes to connect with other teens living with Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders across the US.