A long day at school used to terrify Jane Hamilton, but after years of hard work, she can finally relax again.
Jane, a 14-year-old high school student in Minnesota, was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome as a child.
Though Jane has a mild form of the condition, she is still subject to random outbursts, repetitive movements, and vocalizations at school.
Now that she’s in high school, Jane hopes to show her classmates that having Tourette syndrome doesn’t mean she can’t do the same things that the other kids her age can.
“I think one thing about Tourette’s people don’t understand [is] it’s not just people cussing — that’s not it at all,” the teen told InsideEdition.com. “My Tourette’s is pretty mild. The thing is it can vary, I mean, before I’ve had somewhat extreme Tourette’s. Now I don’t, really.”
Earlier this year, Jane made the Century High School cheerleading squad, which she hopes will help raise awareness about Tourette’s.
Jane revealed that back in March, she had a tic that caused her to constantly make loud noises that she couldn’t control, and people had no idea why she was doing it.
“I had this tic where I would squeak, kind of like a guinea pig,” Jane said. “This is my first actual vocal tic that I’ve had in a really long time and so I truly felt like I had to explain myself. Like if I didn’t, people would think I was being obnoxious.”
As a high school sophomore, Jane decided to put together a presentation on Tourette’s for class in hopes of educating her classmates about her condition, but many of the other teens laughed at her.
“They just started laughing at me as I was presenting, and that wasn’t very fun, but I kept going and I got pretty choked up during that,” Jane said.
While Jane has another tic now, as well as a problem with repetitive blinking, she says her Tourette’s is far milder now.
“When I go out, it’s a little weird because people think that I’m making faces at them, and sometimes it will get so bad that people will think I’m winking at them and that’s a little awkward,” Jane said.
That’s why she finally decided to join the cheerleading squad, to show others that having Tourette syndrome isn’t going to hold her back.
“I feel like people think that I’m not able to do social things or performing or things like that because of my Tourette’s, but the thing is, that like, I’m still doing cheer — how do you think I’m wearing this uniform if I didn’t get through all of cheer,” Jane said. “Yeah, I think I can do a lot of stuff that people don’t think I can do.”
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