Jack Carlin, a 16 year-old from Larchmont, has become one of this year’s 36 Youth Ambassadors for the Tourette Association of America (TAA). Earlier this month, Jack shared his personal story with representatives in Washington, D.C., during the Association’s National Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill and advocated for public policies and services for people affected by Tourette Syndrome and tic disorders.
Six teens from the NY-Hudson Valley Chapter of the TAA were chosen to become Youth Ambassadors this year.
“I’ve had tics since before I can even remember and was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at around eight years old. Treatment has been difficult as no one (or any) medicine can cure it, its symptoms or related conditions, and many medications cause me side effects like increased tics and sleepiness. Let’s just say, people aren’t always so nice about it. I look forward to educating others about Tourette Syndrome, clearing up misunderstandings, and promoting kindness and tolerance,” said Carlin.
An estimated 1 in 100 school-aged children in the United States has Tourette Syndrome (TS) or a related tic disorder, which causes them to make sudden uncontrollable movements and sounds called tics. Tourette is underdiagnosed — many children, parents, teachers and even physicians don’t fully understand TS, which can lead to bullying, a lack of community support, an improper diagnosis, and a host of other issues that impair the quality of life for someone with TS.
Jack completed a comprehensive training to learn how to speak publicly about the often misunderstood disorder and took part in some of the 100-150 congressional meetings during the Association’s National Advocacy Day.
In addition, Jack will help educate his peers and local community on how to promote understanding and social acceptance of TS and its symptoms through presentations at schools, clubs and community centers.
For more information about the Youth Ambassador program, visit www.tourette.org.