Denise Rite had a feeling when her son Ethan was a child, that something was not quite right.
Ethan was eventually diagnosed as having Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder.
The blinking and twitching were uncontrollable tics caused by the disorder. Others with TS have even more severe jerking, shrugging and twisting. Some have vocal tics.
Those with TS also often also have inattention problems, hyperactivity, impulsivity and anxiety, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The cause of TS is not known, no medications are available and there is no cure.
After Ethan was diagnosed, Mrs. Rite realized there were few local resources available. About two years ago she attended a TS support group in Fort Worth and became determined to start a support group in East Texas.
She has done just that.
The Tourette Syndrome Association Tyler/Longview Support Group held its first meeting in Tyler on Saturday with Mrs. Rite as the group leader.
Mrs. Rite says it is her hope that the Longview/Tyler support group will be a place where families share their experiences and receive information.
She says the group can offer strategies to help families cope and help educate the public about this often misunderstood disorder.
More information about TS and support services available are on the website tourettetexas.org. Those interested in the new support group can send Mrs. Rite an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Danny Mogle on the “In Touch With East Texas” radio show airing at 6:30 a.m. Saturday on “The Ranch” 104.1 FM and KYKX 105.7 FM and 6:30 a.m. Sunday on KOOI “Sunny” 106.5 FM.