SUNY Oswego student living with Tourettes: Education matters

OSWEGO, N.Y. — Wylie Hall is an average college student, yet he faces a daily challenge unlike most of his peers at SUNY Oswego. Hall was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome at 17. 

Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder which causes various tics. Although the tic can last a few seconds, it is a lifelong syndrome that can cause social issues. 

“There is no cure for Tourettes, it just kinda comes down to how can you manage your best,” Hall said.

Tourette’s syndrome is estimated to affect three out of a thousand children. Its effects only become more challenging for those living with it as they become older.

“I think that raising awareness is the one thing to educate people,” said Hall.  “Just so people aren’t obnoxious about it, because a lot of times bosses, co-workers and even other students, peers and teachers have been very forthcoming about how they didn’t like it or understand it. ”

Those with Tourette’s face a wide spectrum of effects. There are two types of tics. Vocal is when a noise or word is stated, while motor is physical reactions such as facial grimaces or squinting, Hall said. 

However, it does not end with just tics. Tourette’s can cause depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Tourette’s. 

“A syndrome means they don’t know what causes it,” said Hall. “All they know is that it messes with the dopamine levels in your head when you’re developing. And that in turn can mess with others, for example I have low levels of serotonin so I struggle with depression sometimes.”

Hall’s goal is to become a teacher one day so that his students can have someone who understands. 

For more information on Tourettes, go to the Tourette Association of America website.