College Transitions

“The transition from high school to college can be difficult for anyone and having Tourette Syndrome makes the transition even harder. Unfortunately, IEP’s don’t carry over into college, however the ADA ensures students with TS can get accommodations in college. And every college has a Disability Service Department. I met with the Student Support Services Director the summer before I entered college. It helped to get an early start, definitely don’t wait until school has already started to talk to them. Colleges can make accommodations such as allowing more time on assignments and exams, testing in a separate private area, lighter course loads, and offering extra assistance with tutors. A lot of colleges even offer transitional classes for ADA students. Most of the time I don’t need to use the accommodations, but it makes me feel much better knowing they are in place if I do need them.

Moving away from home and living in a dorm with hundreds of other people I had never met before was another big challenge. One of my biggest fears was thinking “What if I start ticking in the middle of the night and my roommate thinks I’m weird”? To help alleviate that fear, I gave a presentation about TS to all the girls on my wing the first week of school. They were all so understanding and supportive, and one of the girls’ father and brother both had TS as well.

Communication is a key factor for having a positive and productive college experience. I have found that by communicating the facts about TS with others, we can break the misconceptions and foster social acceptance of this misunderstood disorder.”

– Olivia Woodrich (Tourette Association of America Youth Ambassador, 2016) is a sophomore at Oral Roberts University. She is working towards a BFA in Musical Theatre with a minor in Drama Therapy and Psychology.