Dylan Peters is a brave young man. At the age of 4 he was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. He tried for years to hide his tics from his friends, but eventually they began to comment on his jerking head, throat clearing and gurgling sounds, and double-blinking. In the third grade, Dylan and his mother sat down with his teacher Mrs. Sudhalter and made a presentation to his class. Soon after, he wrote his book Tic Talk: Living With Tourette Syndrome: A 9-year-old boy’s story in his own words. I received a copy of the book to review on my blog, then followed up with a Q&A.
What and who was your inspiration for writing this story?
I wrote Tic Talk to help others with TS understand that they are not alone and that having tics is not their fault. I also wanted others to understand what Tourette Syndrome is and what tics are. I wanted others to know that we are just like them but we live with the challenge of TS every day. Last I want people to realize that we have no control over these movements or sounds. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Sudhalter, gave me the suggestion to write the book and Mrs. Olsen, Quest Teacher, and my mom helped me along the way.
How has Major League Baseball player Jim Eisenreich helped you the most?
Jim has been an inspiration to me because he has proven that you can be anything you want to be even though you have Tourette Syndrome. Jim has helped me with our TS Support Group and he has the Jim Eisenreich Tourette Syndrome Foundation where he educates and provided resources to kids and families dealing with TS.
How has this book impacted your life?
Tic Talk has opened many doors for me to speak at conferences, schools, events, etc. This has allowed me to promote acceptance, understanding and awareness of Tourette Syndrome. It also helped me to be more accepting of myself and my challenge.
What are your hopes for this book?
I also wanted others to understand what Tourette Syndrome is and what tics are. I wanted others to know that we are just like them but we live with the challenge of TS every day. Last I want people to realize that we have no control over these movements or sounds. I hope that someday Tic Talk will be in every school library.
Have you seen the HBO specials about Tourette’s? What are your thoughts?
Yes I have seen “I Have Tourette’s But Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me.” This is a great movie because it does not over exploit TS. It is real and provides a true version of what kids have to deal with when living with Tourette Syndrome. I also like the movie “Front of the Class” as this true story again shows that a person with TS can do and be whatever they choose.
Are you still in touch with your teacher?
Mrs. Sudhalter moved to another area elementary school while I was in my last year at Brougham Elementary and I have since moved onto Junior High. We do keep in touch with emails and occasional phone calls.
What is the most important thing you want people to know about Tourette’s Syndrome?
I also wanted others to understand what Tourette Syndrome is and what tics are. I wanted others to know that we are just like them but we live with the challenge of TS every day. Last I want people to realize that we have no control over these movements or sounds. I want them to think about the fact that they can walk away from the sounds and movements that we make but we can never get away from our tics.
Have you ever considered writing any other books?
I thought about it for a short period of time but have decided that Tic Talk will probably be my only published piece.
How have your peers reacted to your book?
They have been extremely supportive and think it is really cool that I was able to do something like this at the age of 9.
Do you work in other ways to raise awareness?
In January of 2009 my mom and I started the Greater Kansas City Tourette Syndrome Support Group. I also continue to speak and help other kids with TS talk about it to their friends and classmates.
Dylan, thank you so much for your time!