Tourette Syndrome

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    Why We Need To Include Neurodiversity In The Diversity Conversation

    I was recently at a workshop about the importance of diversity in the workplace. While I value and appreciate how far we’ve come in many areas of diversity, and the conversation on the work that’s still needed, there was a glaring absence in this discussion – neurodiversity. When I brought it up, a panelist admitted she hadn’t thought about this important group of current and potential employees. I’m sure she wasn’t the only one.

    This is why we need to include neurodiversity in the diversity conversation. Approximately 15 to 20% of the world’s population exhibits some form of neurodivergence. This includes individuals with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, mental health conditions, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, Tourette syndrome and more.

    Untapped skills
    As a mom and sister of two autistic individuals, I know learnpatientadvocacy.com/blog/2021/6/9/its-time-to-embrace-t... they could bring to a potential employer – as well as the intense barriers they face.

    My brother is in his mid-40s and has never had a paying job. He’s bright, friendly, detail oriented, loves repetition, rules and processes. He would get joy out of filling shelves, greeting customers at a large store, or packaging orders in warehouse.

    Yet he remains unemployed as he doesn’t present well in an interview (avoids eye contact, tends to focus on his interests and asks way more questions than he answers). A traditional interview would in no way bring out his best. But give him a job with clear instructions and a solid routine, and he’ll show up excited every day.

    The stats prove autistic adults are an untapped labour force. A 2017 study by the Public Health Agency of Canada found that only 33% of autistic adults are employed vs 79% of adults without a disability.

    Diversity = safe spaces
    Now what about the individuals with anxiety, ADHD, mental health conditions or dyslexia where their neurodiversity is less apparent? Due to biases, many do not disclosure their diversity in the interview process or even when they’ve been working at a job for a number of years.

    When was the last time you heard of neurodiversity in the diversity training given by human resources? We have gender neutral and wheelchair accessible bathrooms, celebrate Pride Day, embrace a variety of cultures and religions, yet leave neurodiversity out of the diversity conversation.

    So, how do we change this?

    It starts by looking at how workplaces first started conversations about LGBTQ2+, race, religion, gender, ethnicity and other diversities. This can include biases training, rethinking the interview process and learning from organizations who’ve already walked this path. It means hiring neurodiverse employees and giving them the supports and accommodations needed to be successful vs token hires.

    It’s about including neurodiversity in the diversity conversation at elementary, high school and post-secondary education institutions – at both the student and staff levels. It involves having honest conversations about how diverse your organization truly is and what needs to be done to ensure there’s a safe and supportive space for everyone.

    Finally, it’s about erasing the stigma and realizing a diverse and inclusive workplace isn’t just politically correct, but will actually strengthen the organization and create positive outcomes.

    New path forward
    learnpatientadvocacy.com/books/how-to-make-patient-and-famil... I spend a lot of time talking about the gifts my brother, son and other amazing individuals bring to table. I’ve also seen movement to fully embrace these gifts hit artificial roadblocks in the education system and in workplaces.

    Here’s my hope. I want everyone to be valued and their unique strengths and gifts recognized. I want neurodiversity to have the same space, recognition and importance in the diversity conversation as we given to other marginalized groups.

    I don’t want to attend a workshop on diversity and have people say they hadn’t thought about neurodiversity. Rather, I want them to share the incredible work being done by individuals who are autistic, have ADHD, dyslexia or mental health conditions. I want them to recognize and celebrate how a diverse workplace benefits everyone and improves the bottom line.

    And most importantly, I want my son to be one of the 79% of Canadians who are employed, vs being held back due to old biases, false assumptions and outdated beliefs.

    It’s time to include neurodiversity in the diversity conversation. Without this shift, the diversity conversation runs the risk of being a token conversation.

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    Mental Tics as someone with a Tic disorder

    Random nonsense words will enter my mind. Or phrases that repeat themselves over and over for a few minutes.

    I know this isn’t my OCD, because #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder involves intrusive thoughts that are disturbing and anxiety invoking, followed by physical or mental compulsions of some kind.

    With mental tics that are a part of having a tic disorder, the words that run through one’s head are often random or a repetition of something you’ve heard someone else say. This has been my experience anyways.

    The mental tics are never disturbing or anxiety inducing, but rather simply annoying and repetitive. They can be bothersome, yes. But they are not upsetting the way OCD-related intrusive thoughts are for me.

    The mental tics can, however, be disruptive, especially if I’m trying to focus. Tic disorders of any kind are especially common for those who have OCD, ADHD, or Autism. I experience a mixture of all of the above, my neurodivergent brain often in overload.

    I feel mental tics are hardly ever talked about. I’ve read about mental tics anecdotally by other’s with tic disorders or #TouretteSyndrome; it is not an official diagnostic symptom, but a possible additional feature of this type of neurodivergence.

    I share this to continue to educate others about my experience and help those that come across this to feel less alone if they relate.

    Join my Tic disorders & Comorbidities! here on The Mighty as well if you’re interested!

    Do you have mental tics?

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    Brownies!

    Baking things with tics can be a challenge and require special tools and extra ingredients. By special tools, I mean things like rubber spoons and plastic bowls. They hurt a lot less when you whack yourself in the head with them compared to wooded or metal spoons and plastic bowls don't shatter like glass. The extra ingredient thing is so when things go flying or get dumped in the wrong place (such as someone's head) you still have enough to finish the recipe. Luckily any mess you make is always cleanable and if you keep your food dog-friendly man's best friend will gladly help you clean up any mess you make. However, this treat of brownies is not dog friendly so don't let them help with this clean-up.

    For more comics check out Ticed Off Adventures website linked below.

    kwillow92.wixsite.com/ticedoffadventures/comics

    #touretteswithoutregrets #tourettesbelike #tourettesitsnotwhatyouthink #touretteswarrior #tourettesyndromeawareness #Tourettes #TouretteSyndrome #TicDisorders

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    Sunshine 🌞

    It's finally starting to warm up outside! Seeds are sprouting flowers are budding and blooming and leaves are on trees! The sun is shining! It's all so beautiful! Hope you all get to enjoy some sunshine and smiles this week!

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the sunshine?

    The artist loves to watch things grow as she draws or crotchets.

    Go to Ticed Off Adventures websites for more comics and characters. Link below

    kwillow92.wixsite.com/ticedoffadventures/comics

    ##ticedoffadventures #TouretteSyndrome #TicDisorders #tics #FunctionalNeurologicalDisorder #sunshine #Comic #Sensoryfriendly

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    Go to foods...

    Sometimes making meals and eating can be difficult due to sensory issues or our tics just making us spit out our food or throw it or other things like smashing it. Things the artist does to help her eat is she eats toast a lot and subs meals with smoothies and nutritional shakes when she has to. Sometimes it's the exhaustion from ticing that just makes you too tired to eat as well, especially from an attack. Sometimes your abdominal tics make you sick and after that, it's hard to force yourself to eat because eating will just make it worse. Other go-to foods are things like cheese sticks or oatmeal or pancakes. She eats gluten-free and low sugar as it helps her feel better but each to their own. What are some of your go-to food for when you really don't have the energy to eat?

    Go to Ticed Off Adventures website for more comics linked below!

    kwillow92.wixsite.com/ticedoffadventures/comics

    #TouretteSyndrome #ticthealien #TicDisorders #SensoryDisorder #SensoryIssues #SensoryProcessignDisorder #Sensoryfriendly #eating

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    Tourette Syndrome and FND #FunctionalNeurologicalDisorder #TouretteSyndrome #nurologicaldisorders

    Tourette Syndrome and FND both can deal with some miscommunication or glitching in the brain which results in some interesting instances. These miscommunications have caused the artist to dump full glasses of drinks, fall randomly, throw things, mix up or repeat words, etc. It's not a fun combo. It has led to many embarrassing and funny stories. What is something these miscommunications have caused that has made you laugh?

    Last Saturday the artist was at her cousin's birthday party and kept calling him a pumpkin.

    Find more comics on Ticed Off Adventures website linked below

    kwillow92.wixsite.com/ticedoffadventures/comics

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    Wrecking Ball, Meet Rope: Cancer + Mental Illness

    In my family, we have experience with a variety of conditions. My first-born has a series of mental health diagnoses. My second-born has cancer. And, I have my own experience dealing with Lyme Disease and anxiety.

    As a rule, I do not compare between my children. I equally do not want to compare the pain and hardship of people battling different diseases. Instead, I want to acknowledge that cancer, mental illness, and other lesser known medical conditions all come with loads of pain, suffering, and hardship.

    In my experience, the hardship is distributed differently. I think of one like a wrecking ball and the other as a heavy, unending rope.

    The Wrecking Ball: Cancer hits like a wrecking ball, stopping you in your tracks. If you are a "lucky" cancer patient, you might avoid being taken out entirely by its forceful swing. To all those battling cancer or caring for a loved one with cancer, I am with you. Helping my child navigate this disease has been like nothing else I've experienced.

    The Rope: Mental illness is a heavy load of rope that stretches out forever. You drag this rope with you every. where. you. go. You may trip over it, be slowed by its weight, get tangled up in its grips - or worse.

    As a parent, I’m tired. But, I know that I am not alone. I have met a small handful of parents who are going through similar challenges. And that makes all the difference. Yet, there is one aspect that I was not prepared for.

    While I never compare my children or their struggles, children often compare themselves to others. It has been hard to see my first-born realize that society does not fully understand the pain and hardship of someone battling mental illness. Our first-born watches our second-born receive card after card, gift after gift, emblazoned with: Brave, Strong, Heroic, Amazing, and more. All the while, our first-born wakes up to her own (invisible?) battles each morning, drags them to school with her, and tries to put them to bed each night.

    As parents, we work for our first-born to be seen/understood by insurers, school staff, family members, friends, and even our medical providers. I hope that we can teach our society more about these invisible and lesser-known struggles so that those who come next get more support, less judgment, and less assumptions.

    I truly hope that this post lifts up all who are struggling and does not imply that one battle is harder or worse than another. Cancer is hard. Mental illness is hard. All deserve support, compassion, and empathy.

    To those battling cancer, mental illness, or a lesser known disease, you are all [insert word from inspirational greeting card]. And, not always because you want to be. Sometimes, just because you have to be.

    #Cancer #Leukemia #AcuteLymphoblasticLeukemia #OCD #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder #TouretteSyndrome #tics #Anxiety #PANSPANDAS #LymeDisease

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    TS, ADHD, and OCD-- the trifecta?

    Anyone here deal with all three? I have mild tic symptoms, moderate ADHD symptoms, and once severe OCD symptoms (although these are now under control; I am very lucky that treatment has worked for me!)

    #TouretteSyndrome #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder #ADHD