Living with Tourette syndrome can be challenging, especially when you're a kid.
“There are bullies on my bus that bully me and I say, ‘please, don't bully me. I have Tourette syndrome. I have something wrong with me,’” said Sarah Butts a 4th grader from South Buffalo.
She is also learning that not a lot of people know about her Tourette syndrome.
“I don't make no friends because of my Tourette syndrome. I only have one friend," said Butts.
“I cannot tell you how these kids suffer,” said Susan Connors, the President of the Tourette Association of Greater New York State. She also has Tourette syndrome.
“A movement disorder caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain,” explained Connors.
People like Susan and Sarah suffer from ticks, meaning they sometimes have involuntary physical movements. The ticks can also be verbal ones which can include swearing.
“You say swear words. You say curse words. You even twitch your head,” said Butts.
“Up to 30% of people with Tourette, get it. So, it's not a common symptom and that is when it takes the form of any kind of inappropriate language,” added Connors.
Kids who develop Tourette syndrome are often thought to have behavioral problems. And that confusion is why the Tourette Association of Greater New York lit Niagara Falls teal on Friday night. They want more people to know about Tourette syndrome and what it's like for people who have it.
“If they had a whole line of people coming to ask me about what Tourette syndrome was, I would say, ask away,” said Butts.