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Tic With It June 20, 1998
Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc. Archives
Detroit-East michigan Chapter

Support Group Report
by Barb Schmatz

June 1, 1998
As I sat down to write my report, I wondered where to start. So much has changed and we've learned so much this year. I am glad that I was able to be a part of it. The best part was being able to hear the ideas of the professionals that mirror our own visions, experiences, and goals. (Yes, there are some.) Our Medical Symposium that Dr. Trosch, Dr. Gilroy and Dr. Joyce are planning is soon to become a reality.

We have also learned what is being taught about Tourette Syndrome to pediatricians, interns and parents at various workshops that I will report on as I learn of them. We have attended workshops and conferences addressing behavior, being pro-active, reaching our adolescents, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and the new special ed. Rules and Regulations.

It is a very good feeling to know that so much worthwhile and important information is becoming available to us parents. Our voices are finally being heard, and if they aren't then we are finding someone else who will listen. As a group, we need to shard our information. The more you learn, the more you can teach.

Our goal this year is to have a regional conference for educators, support staff and parents. This is our best opportunity to reach more people and in the process, have a better chance to help our loved ones with TS live their lives with tolerance, acceptance and bring out the wonderful gifts each person has.

We are starting a dedicated fund to go towards this very important project.

This year we had the opportunity to speak to over 100 educators, psychologists and parents regarding the need for accomodations and understanding, so our children can reach their potential. Thank you to Mike Dombrowski for inviting us to the Council for Exceptional Children's Conference. It was an exciting opportunity to share our feelings and yours with the attendees.

I've attended some interesting I.E.P. meetings.

A Perspective by Barb Schmatz

If you think about it, we've all done or said something we immediately regretted, and were embarrassed by. Maybe we were punished or had consequences for the inappropriate behavior. Maybe there were more repercussions affecting others. We would probably wish it hadn't happened, and try to make amends.

Now try to imagine a child with Tourette Syndrome trying to learn appropriate behavior inthe setting that punishes them for inappropriate behavior, but doesn't teach them in a way that they can learn. Reactive punishment may work for many kids. We should all learn from our mistakes. Unfortunately, our kids don't learn to control behavior in a reactive way. It is a process that takes time and patience. Without help our children are punished more than they are helped. Instead of learning appropriate behavior, they learn that the world is a cruel place. They are put into situations they don't handle well and then are separated from their peers in a demeaning way. How many kids spend much of the day in the hall working alone, their desks pushed away from the rest of the class, or sitting in the office waiting for an adult to reprimand them. Soon their spirit is broken, and their zest for learning is lost. They give up trying.



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