One of the most important things the TSFC does for the TS community is the In-Service Program. We send trained in-service presenters to speak at schools, workplaces and beyond about Tourette Syndrome and its associated conditions. In-service presenters educate school faculties, students, co-workers and fellow community members, providing everything from a clear understanding of the disorder to classroom strategies to lessons on tolerance and much more. This week, we profile some of the wonderful people responsible for this incredibly valuable service.
When I started working for the TSFC six months ago, I couldn’t have guessed that my favourite part of the job would be giving in-service presentations. Some people seek out a cause to champion, for others like myself, their cause finds them.
The first in-service I did was for educators from a local elementary school. My palms were so sweaty that I was afraid to shake hands. I checked that my computer was working four times; I practiced over and over, even in the car. When I started to speak, my nervousness faded. I saw nodding heads, eyes lighting up with “a-has”, eyebrows raising with “oh, I didn’t know thats”.
Even though I’ve done over ten presentations, I still get a bit nervous. Two Fridays ago, I addressed 200 middle school students. I was surprised to learn from a teacher that when she asked her class to leave early, they begged her to let them stay. Their empathy, understanding and insight brought me to tears on a number of occasions. Thank goodness it was dark in the auditorium!
I am still learning to be the best in-service presenter I can be, and with each presentation, my knowledge of the condition, and of how it is perceived, grows. I am so grateful for this opportunity; it has been a source of personal and professional growth. To all those volunteers thinking about becoming a presenter, give it a try, you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish!
To learn more about becoming an in-service presenter in your community, please contact Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org.