Tourette Syndrome inspired me to become a Teacher

My name is Danielle Carter, I am 17 years old and going to be 18 in a couple months (Woohoo)! I have Tourette Syndrome and was diagnosed when I was only 4 years old. My life with Tourettes was not an easy feat. I’ve dealt with a lot of physical and verbal tics and experienced years of bullying because of it. In addition to my tics, I struggle with severe anxiety. Throughout elementary school I had an extremely hard time due to some extreme separation anxiety. This got so bad that I had to be home-schooled for 1st and 2nd grade.

During this time, my family and I worked with the Tourette Association of America, formerly the Tourette Syndrome Association, to find options that could help me. Eventually, in the 3rd grade, l was brave enough to go to school again and we decided it would be a fantastic idea to teach all my classmates about my Tourettes. We made a presentation about TS that I shared each new school year. I used a lot of the information and tools that I learned from the TAA. This opportunity really helped me learn to be an advocate for myself.

In addition to the resources I received from the TAA, I became a volunteer. Volunteering with TAA has given me some amazing experiences that have helped me become who I am today. My parents participated in a few of the 5k Team Tourette races to raise money and awareness for TAA. One year we were asked to help pass out medals at the finish line of a marathon. We did this as a family and I got to met James Wolk, the lead actor in the movie Front of The Class. Inspired by the life of Brad Cohen, this was a story that inspired me to be strong enough to not let my Tourettes stop me from living my life and following my dreams. The movie helped inspire me to want to become a teacher myself (that and my love for history).

I am now a senior in high school and starting the process of choosing a college where I will study how to become a teacher. As I look back over the last 14-15 years it is amazing how far I have come and I am thankful for all I learned from my involvement in TAA.