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Tourette Syndrome

One of the most misunderstood and stigmatized conditions is Tourette Syndrome, a genetic neurological disorder beginning in childhood that affects some 200,000 Americans.


Three years ago, 10-year-old Joriel Sharp began repeatedly clearing his throat. Then he started grimacing and spitting. When his symptoms worsened, his mother, Esther Sharp, took him to a neurologist who made the grim diagnosis.


"It was very frightening," Esther remembers. "[I was in] a world which I knew nothing about and I had no experience."


A new movie, "The Tic Code," is helping shatter stereotypes, News 2's Paul Moniz reports. It sensitively portrays two characters with Tourette Syndrome, an adult musician and a 12-year-old jazz prodigy.


Tourette Syndrome is characterized by tics, involuntary movements such as eye blinking, facial contortions and vocal outbursts. Uncontrollable cursing, called coprolalia, can be a symptom of Tourette Syndrome but few people know it affects only 10 to 15 percent of patients.


Contrary to popular belief, Tourette Syndrome does not affect intellect but it can make learning more challenging because it can also be acompanied by Attention Deficit Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.


If you believe your child has Tourette Syndrome, contact the Tourette Syndrome Association at (718)224-2999.

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