Tourette’s Syndrome: ‘I don’t want people to think I’m a bad child’

Deaglan McCallion is 10 years old and has Tourette’s Syndrome.

He said: “When I was younger I noticed I was making a lot of noises and shouting out a bunch of words and thumping my chest.

“I just want people to know that I’m not a bad child, I just have Tourette’s and can’t hold that back.”

Tourette’s Syndrome is a neurological condition that can cause verbal and physical tics.

There are no official diagnosis figures for Northern Ireland, but it is estimated that there are about 300,000 adults and children in the UK who live with the condition.

Deaglan and his family live in Magherafelt, County Londonderry. His mother, Louise, believes there needs to be more awareness around her son’s condition.

“People think it’s just saying swear words and things like that,” she said.

“But Deaglan’s motor tics can be so severe that he is in constant pain and he begs us to make it stop and that’s very hard for us as a family.”

The DADS/Empower project based in Magherafelt, which is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund to tackle the stigma around Tourette’s, provides support to families like Deaglan’s.

Project manager Josie McGuckin said: “It can be a shock for parents after a diagnosis, so we’re bringing them together with other families who’ve had similar experiences with Tourette’s, so they can support each other.”

Video journalist: Niall McCracken

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