How 2 Kids Saved My Son With Tourette's When He Couldn't Talk
Yesterday after school, my second-grader climbed into the car and said something that struck me.
“Mom, something happened today. C and K saved me. They saved me when I couldn’t talk.”
Of course, I was thinking a million things! Did he choke at lunch? Was he gagged and bound by a bully who had vampire teeth and a tear-drop tattoo and these two brave kids came to his rescue? I’m a worrying helicopter mother, so, of course, my mind was going crazy with questions.
“P, tell me what happened!”
“Well, there were these two girls from another class, and I was doing one of my tics and couldn’t stop.”
It was a tic where his arms stiffen up and his hands shake. During this tic, his face also stiffens.
“They were telling me to stop it and told me that I was so weird,” he continued. “I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t because I couldn’t stop my tic. But C and K saved me. They told the girls I had Tourette syndrome and I couldn’t help it. They told them I wasn’t weird and it was my brain making me do it, and they shouldn’t be telling me to stop it because I can’t.”
Rewind: A few weeks ago, my son’s teacher, school counselor and a very sweet high school kid, who also has Tourette’s, came in to help P teach his class about what Tourette syndrome is and why P was doing these things called tics. When P asked the class, “How many of you have noticed me doing some of these movements and sounds?” The entire class raised their hands. I cried a little to myself sitting in the corner watching all of this. But not P, he just smiled and said, “See, that’s what my Tourette’s is!”
His amazing teacher said something I will never forget: “We are P’s family here at school. So now that you know about his Tourette’s, if you ever see or hear anyone making jokes or talking about it, it’s our job to help them to understand. We all have to look out for each other.”
They listened! Kids will listen when they are taught. It takes teachers, parents and other kids to help raise confident, happy children who feel accepted. P feeling that these boys “saved” him is so powerful. It was like he was being thrown a life raft. He needed a voice and luckily he ended up having two, even if they weren’t his own.
A little bit of help can go a long way. But here’s the kicker: Not only did they “save” my child in that moment, but those two boys showed character by standing up for others. They also taught two more children (the girls) about TS. I would march right up to that school and kiss them right on their faces if I could, but that would be creepy and so I won’t, but I’m so grateful. So very, very grateful.
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