A REVEALING AND INTIMATE LOOK AT CHILDREN WITH TOURETTE SYNDROME
Airing on ABC News' "20/20," Friday, May 22
An estimated one in every thousand children has Tourette Syndrome, a neuro-biological disorder that is characterized by a range of symptoms ranging from painful self-abuse and rage episodes to bizarre vocalizations like barking, meowing or even vulgar and profane language. The children are helpless to control the embarrassing behavior, which subjects them to painful ridicule from their peers and sometimes even adults. For families living with this disorder, it's an unimaginable reality. ABC News Correspondent Jay Schadler follows the stories of four girls and their families as they document intimate scenes from their lives in video diaries. The children poignantly discuss the most debilitating effect of Tourette Syndrome, including the emotional impact of social isolation that sometimes includes alienation from their own families. Even though this mystery disorder has no known cause or cure, the girls reveal the inner strength that empowers them to achieve their dreams. "20/20," airs FRIDAY,
MAY 22 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (This is an update of a report that originally aired July 15, 2008.)
"20/20" travels to a camp in upstate New York affectionately called "Camp Tic-a-palooza", where children are free to exhibit their verbal outbursts and obsessive and unusual behaviors without shame. Here viewers meet the four girls who are profiled in the hour-long report. Amanda, age 14, has a screaming, swearing and barking tic that suddenly gets triggered by a stray dog. Isabella, age 13, strikes herself repeatedly, and so hard that the blows leave bruises. Devon, age 12, has seizure-like tics that cause her to fall down, while Nikki, age 14, talks about the emotional toll her rage disorders take on her family. They bravely tell their stories and reveal a world never before seen through the amazing candor of their video diaries. Viewers will learn how ordinary tasks like getting ready for school can take hours for a child with Tourette Syndrome. Two of the families struggle with the heart breaking decision of whether their children must be home schooled or face the pressure and taunts that public school exposes them to.
"20/20" is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is executive producer.