Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Local scout sheds light on Tourette's Syndrome

Joe Pelletier
By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

CHICOPEE For Chicopee Boy Scout Joey Pelletier, his Eagle Scout project was truly personal. Pelletier, a member of Troop 1849, hosted 60 Chicopee teachers at a seminar about how to work with students who have Tourette's Syndrome at the Moose Family Center last week.

Pelletier explained to Reminder Publications that he suffers from Tourette's Syndrome and has had difficulty with some teachers understanding his medical condition. His evening seminar, which included a dinner for the participating teachers, movies, take-home materials and a speech from Pelletier, was his effort to make classroom conditions better for any other students in Chicopee who have Tourette's.

According to the National Tourette's Syndrome Association Web site, is a neurological disorder that becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence between the ages of two and 15 and is defined by multiple motor and vocal tics lasting for more than one year. Many people have only motor tics or only vocal tics that are usually involuntary movements (called tics) of the face, arms, limbs or trunk. These tics are frequent, repetitive and rapid. The most common first symptom is a facial tic (eye blink, nose twitch, grimace), and is replaced or added to by other tics of the neck, trunk and limbs.

Although there has been much publicity about people with Tourette's Syndrome involuntarily using profanity, the National Tourette's Syndrome Association reports that is uncommon.

Pelletier said that he believes some of the teachers knew about Tourette's Syndrome but learned a little more about it through his efforts.

He does not know if other Chicopee youth currently in the public school system have Tourette's Syndrome. The idea for the project came from his speaking with teachers and friends about Tourette's Syndrome.

Pelletier has been a scout since age six and has two merit badges yet to earn to reach the Eagle rank, the highest in scouting. Now 13, he plans to finish his Eagle work within a year.