**Rising Above Tourette Syndrome
by Bill Baxter
I have had Tourette Syndrome all my life, almost since the day I was born. During my Teenage Years, I was often dumped on, made fun of, and abused by just about everyone in my life. I was often told I was useless, and couldn't do anything or amount to anything. As it turns out, people with Tourette Syndrome can accomplish anything they put their minds to, and a lot of people with T.S. have been known to live very productive lives.
After awhile, I began to ignore everyone else's put-downs, and put my mind to accomplishing great things. My advisers in high school said I could never attend college. I not only attended college, I graduated from California State University at Hayward in 1979. Since then, I have become a co-author of three children's activity books entitled Old Testament Bible Puzzles, New Testament Bible Puzzles, and Life of Jesus Bible Puzzles. I also have had ten years of professional Voice Lessons off and on. I performed with The Orange County (California) Master Chorale from 1984-87. When The Orange County Performing Arts Center opened in Costa Mesa, Calif; in 1986, I performed in the very first opera ever performed there (Amahl and the Night Visitors).
My autobiography entitled "There's Weirdo!" was published in VOICE Magazine in September of 1987. I have been a member of Toastmaster International now for almost nine years, and the organization has further helped me to rise above Tourette Syndrome by helping me to be a better communicator and listener. I have won first and second place trophies in 18 major speech contests in the last few years. I also have seven different web pages published on our Toastmaster District's web site (www.foundersdistrict.org). I am now enjoying a wonderful career in Healthcare at St. Jude Occupational and Environmental Health Services in La Mirada, Calif. Most of my life has consisted of "Rising Above Tourette Syndrome" and not letting it hold me back from being all that I can be.
**This story was also publihed a few years back on Tourette Syndrome.com.