Teacher with Tourette syndrome Brad Cohen educates kids about differences

November 9, 2013 (CHICAGO)

An award-winning and highly respected educator who has Tourette syndrome uses his personal experiences to get the message across.

Believing that everyone should live their life to its fullest, Brad Cohen has taken his story around the country by speaking, writing and more. Last month, Brad spoke to students at Pleviak Elementary School in Lake Villa.

"[I] speak to kids and educators about how they can make a difference," he said.

Brad lives in Atlanta and is now an assistant principal. He was diagnosed with Tourette when he was in fifth grade.

"Growing up, they thought that it was a behavior problem in the school," said Brad. "My Tourette affects me because I make loud noises. So, a lot of times, it draws a lot of attention, although I don't want to do it."

"I was bullied a lot growing up," Brad added. "I tell kids that to deal with the bullying, first of all, hang on because there is a light at the end of the tunnel."

Five years ago, Brad co-wrote a book called Front of the Class: How Tourette syndrome made me the Teacher I Never Had.

" I wanted to show kids that are a little bit different that they can follow their dreams despite their challenges and weaknesses in life, much like I was able to follow my dream to be a teacher," Brad said.

A TV movie was made based on his book.

"It was amazing experience," said Brad. "The story was very authentic. They did an amazing job. I honestly wouldn't change one thing about it, and I know that it's making a difference in the lives of so many people across America."

"What's next? You never know what's next. All I know is I've enjoyed the ride. I know that I'm making a difference and who knows what next," said Brad.

To help raise Tourette syndrome awareness, Brad created Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation that supports local Tourette groups. For more information on that, visit www.bradcohentourettefoundation.com.

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