As the parent of a middle-schooler with Tourette's syndrome (TS), I was truly disappointed in the way Amy Sullivan so flippantly referred to the symptoms of TS in the article "Democrats Talk Religion" (December 2006). This disorder is so poorly understood and mischaracterized to begin with that making insensitive comparisons between its symptoms and the behavior of politicians only serves to perpetuate stereotypes. I doubt that Sullivan would have chosen to include such a comparison using the symptoms of Parkinson's disease or Down's syndrome. Why then would she choose to do this so insensitively with Tourette's?
My child looks and acts like any other child most of the time, but on occasion he does have significant struggles with motor tics. This is painful for his father and me to watch, since he has no control over it. However, we are very lucky to be the parents of such a wise, sensitive, and gifted individual with a wonderful sense of humor. Overall we are very blessed, but stereotypes about TS in the media only serve to make it more difficult for families like ours.