House debates

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Statements by Members

Tourette Syndrome

1:49 pm

Photo of Chris CrewtherChris Crewther (Dunkley, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I wrestled over raising Tourette syndrome in my maiden speech, but I decided not to as I wanted that to focus on policy and I believed that this topic warranted its own speech. This is the first time I have raised this publicly or in any job or beyond close friends or family. I have Tourette's. Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder. It consists of vocal and motor tics—that is, rapid, repetitive and involuntary muscle movements—for example, eye blinking, head jerking, repetitive limb movements and throat clearing. They are irresistible and eventually must be performed. Tourette's is often portrayed by the media as being swearing or coprolalia, but this is experienced by only a small subset of those affected.

It usually begins at between two and 21 years of age, with the average age of onset being about seven or eight. It occurs in about one per cent of children, with boys being three to four times more likely than girls to have it. My symptoms began between grades 1 and 3; however, I unfortunately was not diagnosed until my early 20s. This meant a lot of bullying at school for habits, which many kids with Tourette's experience. That is why I am proud to launch the Parliamentary Friendship Group of Tourette Syndrome today at 4 pm, joined by the President of Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia, Robyn Latimer, and runner-up in The Voice, Adam Ladell, who also has Tourette's and is with us today. I hope Adam and I are evidence that people with Tourette's can achieve anything. With this group I hope to bring awareness of Tourette's, promote earlier diagnosis, government interest and be an example for people with Tourette's.