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Tourette and Photographic Memory of Language

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  • Tourette and Photographic Memory of Language

    Interesting article. Not everyone with Tourette experiences this. What is your experience with 'exact language'?

    Use the longer link on the top.

    One day, as my family sat around the dining room table discussing all things Tourette, the subject of language and how those in my family with TS view language came up  - specifically their need for language to be precise.

    I recounted one of many stories in which I-d changed a word or hadn't been quite precise enough and the results had been . . . less than positive. In this particular instance, my then 12-year-old son and I had taken our dog to a trainer in hopes of taming the pup-s hyperactive behavior. The trainer explained that we needed to run him at least 20 minutes a day to burn off some of his energy. Upon returning home, I shared with my husband how the training session had gone and told him that the trainer recommended we exercise the dog at least 20 minutes a day. Switching out the word *run* for *exercise* was all it took and for the next hour we had an angry, frustrated and raging child who actually accused me of lying. My son genuinely couldn't understand why I wasn't being precise.

    My dad, upon hearing this story, nodded his head in understanding and familiarity. After a moment of silence he said, You know, it-s like individuals who have Tourette Syndrome have a photographic memory of language.

    I couldn-t help but agree. My dad-s theory summed up what our family experienced on a near-daily basis. It doesn-t stop there, though. Those who have OCD within Tourette (up to 80%) can have what educator and author Susan Conners refers to as an obsessive sense of justice.

    In our home, we see this injected into nearly every verbal interaction. If we say we-re going to do something, we-d best stick to those words or there will be consequences. As an example, if we suggest we-d like go outside at noon or have chicken for dinner, we have to actually do those things. If we don-t and our child sees the clock strike 12:01 and we-re still inside or finds the chicken in the freezer instead of thawing, meltdowns are sure to follow and those usually start with but you said. . . !!!

    This doesn-t just affect our home life. School issues involving teachers are a regular occurrence. There have been countless afternoons when I picked up our eldest from school only to find him simmering and upset over the words an instructor used during a class, lamenting that they-d lied. He-s studied science and math extensively; in his mind the educators aren-t just lazy in how they express what to him is a very clean and clear discipline, they-re actually being untruthful.

    Thankfully, while frustrating to navigate at first this isn't always a negative trait. In matters of learning, it can be a great boon when they recall, clearly and precisely, advanced information. With so many aspects of school presenting as hurdles to overcome, having the ability to remember information so readily can give a much-needed boost to a child-s self-confidence and can help bring up grades.

    No matter the situation - at home, school, or work - it is important to remember and honor the needs of the individual. Even if there-s a small detail off, the entire context can change for family members with Tourette.

    As my husband reminds me frequently, "You can-t summarize the statements of someone with Tourette - you have to quote verbatim or you're going to have a problem."

    Okay, I give up. I've tried to fix this post approximately 37 times. It just keeps chopping oft the whole rest of the post, with hiccups. I'm sorry I'm not going to able to do as Steve taught me, and include the text of the article when possible.
    One day, as my family sat around the dining room table discussing all things Tourette, the subject of language and how those in my family with TS view language came up
    Last edited by aparente001; September 27, 2017, 08:54 PM.
    Cathy W

  • #2
    link does not point to the article
    "If at first you don't succeed....
    CRY and CRY again!"


    • #3
      Thanks Gary. The link should work now. Use the longer link to access the article.
      Cathy W


      • #4
        My posts keep getting shopped off. Driving me nuts