Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Front of the Class

Brad Cohen has been an inspiration in our house for the past 3 years! We have all read his book and were so impressed by his philosophy of not letting Tourettes win.

I've been in contact with several adults with TS since I've started this blog. Most of them are on disability. They let TS win. We were quite disheartened by this until we read Mr. Cohen's book. Front of the Class came out at just the right time for us. Z was at the peak of his tics and he often worried about what life held in store for him. After reading the book, Z was more confident that he could lead a normal, productive life in spite of his disabilities.

At the time his book came out, Z and I saw Mr. Cohen on Oprah. Z was a bit horrified that Mr. Cohen still had relatively severe tics. At that point in his life, we were all hoping that Z's tics would slide back into a less noticeable state. After witnessing Mr. Cohen's enthusiasm for life, Z felt better about the prospect of living with severe tics for the rest of his life.

Thankfully, Z's tics have slid back to a more manageable level over the past year. Where he is now is probably how he'll be for life. Z's lucky; his current vocal tics aren't loud enough to disturb others in a movie theater or concert. Mr. Cohen's vocal tics resemble a barking dog, Z's resemble a whining puppy. Z's motor tics have also settled down to where they don't interfere with his functioning.

We are also lucky that Z was correctly diagnosed with TS right from the start. Mr. Cohen's mother had to research and diagnose her son all by herself! This is the biggest thing that Brad and Z have in common...a pitbull of a mother who refused to let her son be marginalized by his disability. I'd love to meet Brad's mother!

Sunday night Hallmark Hall of Fame dramatized Brad Cohen's story. I am extremely grateful to Hallmark for choosing this topic. All the people who watched this show now have a realistic idea of how TS affects children's lives. I'm hoping that national exposure like this will prevent even a few people from glaring, staring, or ridiculing people like my son when they encounter them in public.


At 12/09/2008 6:04 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

One of my coworkers was just telling me that he'd seen that movie. I told him about your family and how hard you all work with Z. That, of course, includes the hard work that Z does.

Wish I'd seen the movie. I'm glad you have something like to help you along the way.

At 12/09/2008 6:44 PM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

I saw the movie advertised but I thought it was coming up this weekend. Did I miss it then? Will they be re-airing it?

At 12/09/2008 9:36 PM, Blogger Jeannie said...

Frankly, I'm uncomfortable with people being rude or snotty towards anyone for any reason. I don't understand the attitude.

I'm glad for Z that more information is being put out there in the public. At least some people will have more understanding.

At 12/10/2008 3:17 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

You know Jeff works with a guy that has TS.. He is always screwing up and using his TS as an excuse to why he messed up.. I am also glad to hear that Z is getting more information on this topic. Off the Wall we will see you Tuesday or Wednesday.. We will leave Green Bay when I get off work Tuesday morning at about 4 AM..

At 12/10/2008 11:21 AM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Will keep an eye out for that movie, Tshsmom. Thank God for your determination and protection/action on Z's part.

Aren't you glad that this isn't 50 years ago?

At 12/10/2008 8:04 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

The thing with ticks - new some folks who had them. When you're aware that someone has them, they become a non-issue.

At 12/10/2008 8:04 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

whoops. Misspelled "knew."

At 12/10/2008 8:51 PM, Blogger SME said...

That's awesome, that they made a movie about him. I saw him on Oprah and I think anyone could be inspired by him! He's a fighter.

At 12/10/2008 10:37 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

I wish I could have seen the special. Speaking of special, some people are given the challenge of having to live on a higher level than the rest of the world. God bless them mightily for rising to the task and inspiring so many who have special challenges not as publicly noticeable, but there nevertheless.

I was watching a show on giantism (mostly caused by pituitary tumors) the other night and I can't belive - well, I believe it, but don't understand how some people can be such rude - yes, I will say it - asshoes.

At 12/11/2008 3:23 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Squirl, Thanks! Keep spreading the word.

VV, I thought the same thing. I accidentally ran across it while channel surfing.
They've released most of Hall of Fame movies on DVD. Maybe you'll be able to rent it.

Jeannie, I've never understood that attitude either. We raised our kids by the Golden Rule. Unfortunately a lot of people weren't raised that way.

Tweets, I'm available any afternoon, after 1:30, except for Thursday.

Bridg, we say that all the time! We're so grateful that we have the internet at our fingertips for all our research. I feel so sorry for all the TS kids who never knew what was wrong with them, and were constantly punished for their tics.

ZS, EXACTLY! Our entire family is oblivious to Z's tics. They're used to Z and know that this is part of who he is.

SME, can you imagine how awesome it would be to have a handicap and have Mr. Cohen for a teacher?!

Gardenia, I don't like to wish bad luck on anyone, but don't you wish that all the assholes in the world could be afflicted with a disability so they could learn some empathy?

At 12/12/2008 1:23 AM, Blogger Cherie said...

Thank you for this post, Tshs.

The movie was absolutely fantastic! The girls watched it with us and were so shocked to see kids picking on young Brad. "They're so MEAN!" I'm so glad they saw that movie because now they are some of the educated ones and can pass on their knowledge and compassion to the world around them.

Z is fortunate to have you for a mom! I thought of all of you throughout the entire movie. Tom and I appreciated Brad's sense of humor and tenacity. I would have LOVED a teacher like him!

Z rocks!!

And so does Brad Cohen.

At 12/14/2008 4:25 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

We will come out Tuesday after we get into town then?? How long is your work open. Maybe I can talk Jeff into eating before visiting????

At 12/14/2008 8:28 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Cherie, you're welcome! I was going to tie this post in with my review of James Patterson's book on TS, but I felt compelled to say something now.
BRAVO to your girls. I already knew that they would NEVER be the type to bully someone. The criminal part of bullying, with both Z and Brad, was that teachers were often the worst bullies!
I didn't realize, until after I'd written this post, that Z hadn't finished reading the book. He was having reading problems 3 yrs ago and rarely finished anything. Now he is racing through the book, pointing out new things he loves about Mr. Cohen.
So far, the part that really blew Z's mind was that the teacher who made Brad apologize to the class, was what inspired him to be a teacher! I guess that bitch served a useful purpose after all!

Sense of humor(class clown) seems to be a trait that TS kids share. The fact that most TS kids are extraordinarily intelligent, makes it even more criminal not to grant them a decent education.

Our family really appreciates your family's support!

Tweets, we're all ready for you! We're open until 7p.m. Won't your Mom get mad if you come out here first?

Don't forget to pack emergency supplies in case you get stranded on the road. It's really snowing today. Hopefully it will clear by Tuesday!


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