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

Deaglan McCallion is 10 years old and has Tourette syndrome.

He said, “When I was younger, I noticed that I was making a lot of noise, shouting a lot of words, and slapping my chest.

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

Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder that can cause verbal and physical tics.

There are no official diagnosis figures for Northern Ireland, but it is estimated that around 300,000 adults and children in the UK are living with the disease.

Deaglan and his family live in Magherafelt, County Londonderry. His mother Louise believes that her son’s condition needs to be better known.

“People think it’s just swearwords and the like,” she said.

“But Deaglan’s motor tics can be so strong that he is constantly in pain and begging us to stop, and that is very difficult for us as a family.”

The DADS / Empower project, based in Magherafelt, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund to fight the stigma surrounding Tourette, supports families like Deaglan’s.

Project Manager Josie McGuckin said, “It can be a shock to parents after a diagnosis, so we’re bringing them together with other families who have had similar experiences with Tourette so they can support one another.”

Video journalist: Niall McCracken

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