​Boy uses Tourette syndrome to teach others not to bully

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Trevor Harris rarely makes faces because he wants to. The seventh-grader suffers from Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes uncontrollable movements and outbursts called tics.

That would be tough for any 12-year-old, but it's especially tough when you're a military kid who moves a lot. Last year's transfer took him away from his friends in Tennessee and forced him to start over in a new school in Virginia.

"When I was down there, kids understood my Tourette's and everything. But I come up here, no one understands me," Trevor told CBS News. "In my first day, I got flipped off at least 15 times -- literally."

There were tears. But Trevor, who is among the 138,000 American kids living with the disease, decided he wasn't going to hide behind his tics. He and school officials decided to educate his peers with an anti-bullying PSA.

Trevor Harris, left, created an anti-bullying PSA to teach others about Tourette syndrome.

Trevor Harris, left, created an anti-bullying PSA to teach others about Tourette syndrome.

CBS News

"A tic is not like an insect tick," Trevor explained in the video. "It's actually where you scream, make faces or click your teeth."

If it's uncomfortable to listen to, Trevor's dad Jeremy said, that's the point.

"He's realized the more kids that he knows that understand, because he's talked to them and explained it to them, that then it's easier to get along with folks, rather than trying to hide it," Jeremy Harris said.

Trevor can often be found solving one of the many Rubik's Cubes he owns. It's one of the ways he tries to keep his tics at bay. He said the message is getting across to some of his classmates.

"It's been a major difference, but there's still some kids that don't understand," he said.

And Trevor is determined to change that.

"Everybody has a different flaw," he said. "And, it's just -- why won't you accept me for me?"

As Trevor says, ignore the tic -- but don't ignore me.

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    Julianna Goldman is a CBS News correspondent based in the Washington bureau.