I must say a good time was had by all this weekend. Our little trip to Brighton was excellent, I always enjoy a good Tourettes Action conference, but this one was particularly good. One of the main reasons that it was good was because it was very much a conference that involved us ticcers, after all we are affected by Tourette’s syndrome so naturally we should in some way be involved with the delivery of a conference, so first on were myself acting as able assistant to a London-based psychologist who delivers Habit Reversal training. It was quite interesting to meet another HRT therapist and compare how my treatment differs from that of his own patients and tell the ticcer’s side of the story also, as this is what often gets missed out of academic research. The second speaker was a child psychologist who works with kids with TS and she spoke about anger management, she also went on to talk about “mindfulness” which was very interesting and is a great way to think about things and live your life. I suppose I tend to veer towards living quite a mindful existence, living very much for the moment and not letting the past bother me to much or worry about the future. We then listened to a Yoga instructor tell us about how Yoga can benefit us, complete with a demonstration from a fellow ticcer. I have in the past dabbled in yoga and had almost mastered the Sun Salutation (as demonstrated) just as playing my double bass or knitting help suppress my tics, yoga practice stopped my friend’s tics. The next speaker had what has been so received with quite a bit of scepticism from the ticcer community, this man (I forget his name) is a dentist who has been running a trial on people with TS using a dental splint, unfortunately he didn’t have any pictures of the splint but he did show us a remarkable bit of footage of a young boys with severe tics, to the extent he found it difficult reading without the splint and then with the splint, the change was astounding, but the theory behind the device seems a bit odd and the trial that he conducted used only 11 people (adults and kids). Afterwards I had quite an interesting conversation with him, as when I was about 14 I was dragged off to Carmarthen to see an orthodontist, who wanted to fit me a brace, however this brace consisted of a frame around my head, rather like the brace worn by the young Willy Wonka in the Tim Burton version of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Needless to say I didn’t get fitted with the brace; it was tough enough being the twitchy kid, being the twitchy kid with a metal frame around her head would have been living hell. So, as a result of this decision I have an odd overbite which from the side makes me look like a beaky bird. As well as this overbite, my bottom teeth are crowded, I have too many teeth in quite a small mouth, and also I don’t have wisdom teeth, when my dentist x-rayed me she found that they were still in my jaw. Back to the mouth-splint dentist, he told me that basically if I had the wisdom teeth extracted out of my jaw (ooouuuccchhhh!!!) this would eleivate my tics. Somehow I can’t see the NHS paying for such a treatment, and secondly it’s taken me a long time to pluck up the courage to start seeing a dentist so the lovely dentist I have found in Coventry is the only person who’s going anywhere near my teeth.
Of course one of the main elements of TA conferences is meeting new people, both other ticcers and people involved with ticcers.
Onwards to the evening, at this point I think Helen deserves a massive thank you for arranging a fantastic evening, and everybody who took part, and of course, the kids stole the show, another excellent monologue and acappela singing (the boy should go far!) I regret having to leave so early to go and get my train, just as I was leaving another adult ticcer had got up and she had just started her stand up comedy routine which started excellently. It would be great if the next conference was held in a small town or village that has an abundance of camp sites and cheap accommodation available or even if TA hired out a whole Youth Hostel to hold a conference of a weekend. Saturday was also the boss’s birthday, so a belated Happy Birthday to Suzanne. Xxx