Sarah Ethridge of Chatham was a member of the first class held by Tim Howard's NJCTS Leadership Academy earlier this month.
Each of the participants took part in an innovative three-day intensive training designed to raise self-empowerment, self-leadership and resilience- all important skills to succeed while living with Tourette Syndrome.
Howard, who has Tourette Syndrome, was the starting goalie for the U.S. in the World Cup played in Brazil this summer.
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by uncontrollable movements known as tics. TS is often accompanied by associated conditions including mental health disorders and learning disabilities.
The Leadership Academy took place at Rutgers University with emphasis on imparting an understanding of the biological, psychological and social components surrounding a Tourette Syndrome diagnosis. Speakers included world-renowned researchers Dr. Jay Tischfield of Rutgers University and Dr. Robert King of Yale University.
Each participant was assigned a team led by "coaches"- successful young adults with Tourette Syndrome. In addition to workshops on "Brain Biology" and the psychosocial aspects of TS and its accompanying disorders, each participant contributed to the future of the Academy by sharing feedback and personal reflections.
"The goal of the Academy is to give each teen tools, real life skills, to succeed in the world beyond their Tourette diagnosis," NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice said. "It was an extraordinary pilot weekend for the Academy – I am impressed with the contribution of each and every participant and encourage them to share information about their experience with friends, family and beyond.”