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Front of the Class
How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had
by Brad Cohen with Lisa Wysocky

Excerpt from Chapter 1 (Page 4)

The Green Dragon was more than an extension of me. It was a symbol of my physical freedom; it was my disguise. When I was riding the Green Dragon, my condition was invisible. That bike was my most loyal friend—and a real protector. On the Green Dragon, I forgot about my tics and all the problems they were causing for me and my family. Speeding up and down the hills around our neighborhood with the wind in my face, I was like any normal kid. I wished those hills would go on forever.
Since I was in constant motion all day long, Mom signed Jeff and me up for after-school programs at the local JCC. Her thoughts about an active center and organized activities proved to be right. Jeff and I participated in all kinds of sports there, depending on the season: baseball, floor hockey, basketball, soccer. We both loved the place; we could stay all weekend and be thoroughly entertained. I even loved keeping score for the adult intramural basketball games . . . everyone yells at ball games.
Optimistic people often tried to reassure Mom that both my brother and I were nothing more than healthy, active boys. And with Jeff, it was true. But it was also true that my behavior was becoming progressively worse, and Mom was having a harder time keeping me in line.
It wasn’t just a matter of little behavioral tics that I couldn’t suppress; I was having a harder time keeping myself “in line” all the way around. Fear of my mother’s displeasure wasn’t nearly as bad as the fear that I was losing the ability to control all aspects of my behavior. Whatever the cause, it was becoming extraordinarily difficult for me to get along with other people. Most adults saw me as a kid who was overly rebellious and willful. But I struggled with the creeping suspicion that my willpower, the basic ability to control myself, was dissolving within me. My behavior had become so bad that it terrified even me.

Excerpt is from Front of the Class,
Copyright © by Bradley Richard Cohen and Felicia Wysocky
All rights reserved.

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