Cole Falk, 12, of Chili, is one of this year’s 39 youth ambassadors for the Tourette Association of America.
He shared his personal story with representatives in Washington, D.C., during the Association’s National Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, and advocated for public policies and services for people affected by Tourette syndrome and tic disorders.
“Being a youth ambassador means that I was chosen to teach people about the facts of Tourette,” Falk said. “I was honored to be selected. I hope that I can make a difference in how people treat people with Tourette syndrome.”
An estimated 1 in 100 school-aged children in the U.S. has Tourette syndrome or a related tic disorder, which causes them to make sudden uncontrollable movements and sounds called tics.
Falk completed training to learn how to speak publicly about the disorder and took part in congressional meetings during National Advocacy Day. He will help educate his peers and local community on how to promote understanding and social acceptance of TS and its symptoms through presentations at schools, clubs and community centers.
“Youth ambassadors for the TAA have a significant impact on awareness efforts in their local communities,” said Amanda Talty, president and CEO. “Their efforts not only educate others about the disorder, but are a bridge to reaching other individuals who feel isolated to know they are not alone.”
The Tourette Association launched the youth ambassador program in April 2008. To date, nearly 400 teens have completed more than 1,000 activities to reach more than 5.5 million people.
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