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Brad Cohen (with Lisa Wysocky) has written “Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had.”
Jim Eisenreich, a former professional baseball player who has Tourette’s, has written a Foreward.
As a child with Tourette syndrome, Brad Cohen was ridiculed, beaten, mocked, and shunned. Children, teachers, and even family members found it difficult to be around him.
As a teenager, he was viewed by many as purposefully misbehaving, even though he had little power over the twitches and noises he produced, especially under stress.
Even today, Brad is sometimes ejected from movie theaters and restaurants.
But this book is not the work of someone filled with self-pity. His unswerving determination and fiercely positive attitude conquered the difficulties he faced in school, in college, and hunting for jobs.
He never stopped striving, and after twenty-four interviews, he landed his dream job: teaching grade school and nurturing all of his students as a positive, encouraging role model.
Cohen is now a motivational speaker as well as a teacher and author. He is the recipient of Georgia’s First Class Teacher of the Year award.
He has founded a camp for children with Tourette’s and has appeared on Oprah. In 2006, this book won the Independent Publisher’s Education Book of the Year Award.
His life has also been made the subject of a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.
There are fifteen chapters; it is part memoir with harrowing and heartwarming experiences, part great teacher anecdotes, part practical advice.
There is a “photo album” and an appendix: “Thoughts on Living with Tourette Syndrome and Other Disabilities” (terrific advice). There’s also an index.
But most usefully there are two pages of resources. Here are some:
- Brad Cohen’s Official Site — additional resources for those with Tourette’s. www.frontoftheclassbook.com
- Americans with Disabilities Act — Know your rights if you have any kind of disability. www.ada.gov
- Jim Ehrenreich Foundation — A foundation for children with Tourette syndrome. PO Box 953, Blue Springs, MO 64013, 800-442-8624 (toll free) www.tourettes.org
- Life’s a Twitch — Dr B Duncan McKinlay, Psychologist, offers writings, research, a documentary, songs, children’s resources, a question-and-answer forum, presentations, and other information and encouragement for those living with TS and associated disorders. www.life’satwitch.com
- National Tourette Syndrome Association — A national US organization for those withTourette syndrome. 42-40 Bell Boulevard, Bayside NY 11361 888-4TOURET (toll free) or 718-224-2999 www.tsa-usa.org
- Planet Tic — An easy website to use for kids, parents, and teachers. www.planettic.com
- Tourette Spectrum Disorder Association, Inc. — A great place to find more information on the breadth and depth of Tourette syndrome. www.tourettesyndrome.org
- Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada — A national organization in Canada for those with Tourette syndrome. 194 Jarvis Street, #206, Toronto Ontario M5B 2B7 800-361-3120 (toll free) www.tourette.ca
- Tourette Syndrome “Plus” — Another great resource for information on Tourette syndrome. www.tourettesyndrome.net