Sunday, November 16, 2008

How Tourette Syndrome Made Him the Teacher He Never Had

The national Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc. is very excited to announce that the Hallmark Hall of Fame TV presentation, the Front of the Class, will premiere on Sunday, December 7, 2008, at 9:00 pm EST on CBS.

The details below are from an e-mail I recently received from the TSA, Inc.:
Front of the Class is inspired by the true story of Brad Cohen, a young man diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome who overcomes considerable odds to become a gifted teacher. Based on Brad's award winning book, Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had, this poignant TV feature is an accurate and inspiring depiction of this much misunderstood neurological disorder.

Check out this video clip of Brad speaking about growing up with Tourette's.

When growing up, teachers and other adults - even Brad's father - interpreted his involuntary sounds and sudden jerking movements as attempts to get attention. He was teased by other kids. As a result, he hated school, until his school principal recognized and acknowledged that Brad's acting up was actually a result of his Tourette Syndrome symptoms. His principal chose to use an all-school assembly to educate both the faculty and his fellow students about the disorder. This dramatic incident was pivotal in helping Brad win their understanding and acceptance.

At that point, Brad decided to become the teacher he never had. But that ambition was more easily stated than achieved. Despite an impressive college record and glowing recommendations, getting a job was an almost insurmountable challenge. He was turned down in 24 consecutive interviews. His 25th interview finally resulted in a job offer.

Brad's openness about having Tourette Syndrome, as well as his easy-going manner and gentle humor, quickly won over his young students. In addition to the standard curriculum, the students learned valuable lessons in understanding and tolerance. At the end of the year, Brad was named Georgia's outstanding first-year teacher.

Front of the Class on Sunday, December 7, 2008, at 9:00 pm EST on CBS.

No comments: