Film brings syndrome to light

By Jaimee Kuperman

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Many members of the Tourette's Syndrome family more than 200 people in all lined up to buy tickets at the UA's Gallagher Theatre for "Twitch and Shout," a documentary designed to reflect attitudes and demonstrate reactions of this jerky and uncontrollable disorder.

Tourette's Syndrome (T.S.) is a neurological disorder characterized by tics, involuntary muscular movements, obscene vocal expressions and repetitive movements. It is estimated that 150,000 to 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with this disorder.

"Twitch and Shout" expressed difficulties that members of the T.S. family face including tics, obsessions and grunts. The footage included an actress who could not take the stage unless her make-up was perfect on her dresser, while another needed to make sure that all of her dollar bills were unfolded and facing the same way. These obsessions controlled their lives, making it difficult to concentrate on anything else.

"Tourette's Syndrome hits all different ages and does not discriminate," said Laurel Chiten, the documentary's director and producer.

"Twitch and Shout" has been presented in Berkeley, Calif., New York, Denver, Harvard University, and on Sept. Saturday and Sunday was welcomed to the UA. Chiten worked on this documentary for five years, and took no salary for her work during that time. She has invested $50,000 of her own money into the film in an effort to bring T.S. into the public eye.

A group discussion that lasted more than an hour followed the presentation, giving the audience a chance to voice their experiences with T.S. Many questions were answered within the group, as people shared their stories of living with this disorder. This movie talked to people, giving children an understanding that they are not alone.

Chiten said she hopes to make T.S. well-known through her films and ensure that this is the last generation to have gone misdiagnosed.

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