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Tic With It
Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc.
Detroit-East Michigan Chapter
March, 2000
A Seminar in Windsor with Duncan McKinlay

Linda J. Annoni

On February 5th, I had the pleasure of attending the Windsor TSA Seminar along with Art Abbott, Jeremy Abbot and Michelle Bumbalough. Their guest speaker was Duncan McKinlay, who did a presentation on Life's a Twitch: Understanding, Living In and Dealing with DISORDER. We were promised we'd be on the edge of our seats, and I can assure you we were. You see, not only does Duncan McKinlay, who is a few months away from receiving his PhD, have Tourette Syndrome, he also has some of the most severe symptoms that I have ever witnessed. It was exciting as a parent to see someone with such extreme tics be able to overcome the many obstacles he has faced and yet have a successful career. Duncan has chosen to remain medication free because he feels that although the medication helped his symptoms it also took away his creativity.

Understanding The Disorder was an overview of the history, diagnosis, symptoms and prevalence of TS and its associated disorders. Interestingly, the traditional estimate of those affected with TS was 1 in 2000, but with more awareness the current estimate is 1 in 200.

Living in The Disorder was Duncan McKinlay's attempt to make us realize what it is like to walk in the shoes of someone who has TS. The four of us agreed that we have heard others explain TS, but never like this. Just by listening to his stories one can feel the hurt to which he has been subjected during his life. At times, many of us were moved to tears. He discussed how the three emotions of anger, depression and anxiety co-relate, especially in children. Most, at some point, will face alienation, social ostracism, intimacy rejection, misperceptions, discriminationŠand the list goes on. Duncan is proof that although Touretters are faced with these things, there is still hope for the future.

The third, and final section of the seminar was Dealing with DISORDER in which Duncan talked about developing lasting change instead of a quick fix. He taught us that we can teach our children to be accountable for their actions. For example, if the child is putting holes in the walls than make him or her fix it. Do not let a child use TS as an excuse not to accomplish things. Our attitudes and beliefs are obvious to others and will influence how they perceive and treat us. All in all, our trip to Canada was a day well spent.

Art was able to mention our support group and received more than 25 names of Canadian families that want to be on our mailing list.

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