While walking around the mall, I had a tic. Two older couples stared at me and I politely bowed and quickly said, “I have Tourette’s”. The woman turned back at me in confusion, smiled and asked, “You want to arrest me?”. I responded, “No, no. I have Tourette’s Syndrome.” It took her a second to understand what I just said and then I added, “. . .but if you want me too I could”. She ended up laughing and said, “You’re funny. I love you”. I smiled.
(Thats me taking a nap on campus in the picture above lol. Someone caught me red-handed!)
If you want to know how to cope, you can skip the first paragraph and read the second one.
I never realized how many people don’t know that I have Tourette’s. Being at Bellevue College (former community college) for four years, I just assume people know! But that’s not good to assume. One time, I was hastily running around campus a lot to get errands done and to stop by my instructor’s office and to finish up homework all at once. I literally went all over campus. The thing I didn’t know happening was my science instructor, Mr. Fuller (an awesome, sweet, kind, geeky entomologist) was advocating for me all over the place because many students, instructors, and staff had no clue why I was screaming, shouting, stomping, and jumping. They probably thought I was some crazy, hyper student running around for no reason and shouting for no purpose. I was waiting for Mr. Fuller to be done with his class so I can talk to him and while I was waiting, I had intense tics as usual. I’d jump, clap my hands, shout out “hey!”, and stomp. Students were freaking out in his classroom, but because he didn’t want his students to embarrass themselves out of ignorance (and to educate them of course), he stopped lecturing and explained to the entire class about who I was and what I had. He also took the liberty to explain to other faculty, staff, and instructors who were super concerned when I was walking in and out of the faculty area. Some instructors wonder how I’m able to cope with my Tourette’s in class! Well, teachers all over the world, here’s my answer: I just do. lol
- When I take tests, or quizzes I do it in a separate room so I could not be so tense and not disrupt other students.
- The first time I came to class I would explain to all the students what Tourette’s is.The majority of the time, actually almost all the time, students would understand.
- I would also take short breaks when my tics get intense.
- I’ve had some student complaints here and there and there were ways around it. Some students instead, took the same class at a different time because they ultimately couldn’t cope with my Tourette’s. I have every right to get an education of course, but there are some students who really couldn’t deal with the noise and we’d have to work our way around it.
- Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a year at Bellevue College that I haven’t encountered discrimination from an instructor. It makes me appreciate those who love and accept me as a student.
- I am just a regular student doing my regular thing, but often, my tics can be so bad that doing school work or homework difficult so communicating with my instructor in an open and honest way is super important. Also, being patient with one another is important, too, to have a strong healthy student-teacher relationship.
Hello! My name is Megan Phox
Here is a blog to learn more about Tourette’s Syndrome (specifically my experience). Tourette’s is a neurological condition where a person has involuntary physical or vocal “tics” or symptoms such as shouting, screaming, jerking of the head, blinking, etc. It has to do with imbalanced brain chemicals. This is a safe place where you can ask questions that you would be too nervous (although you shouldn’t be) to ask me in person. All frequently asked questions will be in “menu”above where it says “FAQ”. You can also e-mail me at Meganitup@hotmail.com or add me on facebook (search Megan Phox) to ask me questions. Thank you everyone!
The menu above also has links to “Tics & Fitness” (where I talk about my exercise and nutrition journey) and “Tics & Art” (where I discuss about my artistic endeavors along with a business I’m running where I sell hand-made jewelry and stationary!). Soon to come is “Tics & Speaking” where I share about my career as a motivational speaker! I’m not one yet, but definitely on the road to becoaboitming a speaker. Just wait 😉