Brad interviews Jacob from Savannah, GA
B. How old are you and where are you from?
J: I’m 12 1/2 and live in Savannah, GA
B: How long have you had Tourette Syndrome?
J: I was diagnosed at age 6, though looking back my mom says she now sees things that were there earlier. She just thought I was “different”.
B: What kinds of symptoms do you have?
J: Some motor tics, but mostly vocal tics. They can get pretty loud. A snorting sound, a sneezing sound, one that sounds like I’m gasping…those are some.
B: What is life like for you living with Tourette Syndrome?
J: At first when I was younger I didn’t understand what was happening, but I knew that I couldn’t help it. As I got older I started to understand it more and I found out that that is who I am and that’s what makes me who I am. And if I didn’t have TS I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m okay with it.
B: What advice can you give other kids who are newly diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome?
J: You are no different from any other person in the world. You just have TS which is your challenge. Everyone has a challenge and TS is yours. Don’t think of it as something that makes you different from everyone else, but something that makes you unique.
B: What is the hardest thing about living with Tourette Syndrome?
J: The hardest thing is when I have a stressful day and that’s when my tics get bad. They don’t usually act up that much on a normal day. It just happens whenever I get upset.
B: What do you think other people should know about Tourette Syndrome?
J: TS is a neurobiological disorder that is not contagious, because it’s not a disease. Having TS doesn’t make you any different from anyone else. It’s like a sneeze, you can’t control when it happens, it just happens. It’s just something that happens naturally. There’s no reason to treat anyone with TS differently, it’s just something we were born with. It doesn’t keep me from doing anything.
B: What are your strengths and what do you like to do?
J: I’m really good at working with technology. I usually like to program software, write code, and build things. I’ve always been interested in engineering, rocket science and astronomy. I’m really good at magic, which I’ve been doing since I was 5 years old.
B: What are your goals in life?
J: My goal in life is to educate people on TS and what it is and to make it something that everyone is aware of and for everyone to know that it doesn’t make you any different. I also want to be an engineer, scientist or magician.