I have Tourette’s but Tourette’s doesn’t have me is a short Emmy-award winning documentary made up of frank and inspiring interviews with kids who have Tourette’s syndrome. Tourette’s is a neurobiological disorder characterized by uncontrollable or semi-controllable physical and vocal tics, like sudden twitches or vocal outbursts. This is a great film for people of all ages to gain some understanding of how it can feel to have Tourette’s, and to be reminded of what it's like to be different and misunderstood.
Tourette’s was once considered to be very rare, but is now thought to affect up to 3.8% of children. Thanks to sensationalist portrayals, many people associate Tourette’s with the spewing of obscenities and insults, when in fact most tics are less severe, and often decrease throughout adolescence.
The children who share their experiences in the documentary range from 6 to 13 years of age, and they talk about homeschooling, public school, relationships, and home life with Tourette's. One little girl describes how she pretends to drop her pencil in class, so that she can camouflage a stomach-grabbing tic while bending down. Many tics cannot be so cleverly disguised, and tend to become more frequent and insistent in stressful situations. One of the boys explains how some teachers don’t understand that he can't fully control his tics, and punish him for actions outside of his control, while another boy with a more supportive teacher spreads understanding of his condition by campaigning to his whole class.
All of the kids are different, but they have Tourette’s in common, as well as a sincere desire to be understood and appreciated, and great courage in facing ignorance and unfair judgment. I have Tourette’s but Tourette’s doesn’t have me is only a half-hour film, but moving and incredibly worthwhile.