Helping people with Tourette’s through Camp Twitch

By Jade Hawkins on August 22, 2016

Most people’s knowledge of Tourette’s Syndrome is that it involves loud and involuntary swearing.

However, that is not the case for many Tourette’s sufferers.

In fact, it is estimated that one in a hundred people are born with the disorder, but many go undiagnosed because of the variety of way it manifests.

Tics can be vocal or physical. The most extreme cases involve self-harm such as punching oneself in the face or yelling socially inappropriate words or phrases. Less noticeable may be tics such as eye blinking or shoulder shrugging.

Tics are often made worse by anxiety or excitement, and that is why it is so important for people with Tourette’s to feel good about themselves and comfortable in various situations.

This is where Camp Twitch comes in.

Camp Twitch is held by the Tourette’s Association of New Zealand. It is for people with Tourette’s Syndrome, their parents and siblings to spend time together, have fun and realise they are not alone.

For 12-year old Analise Twemlow, the support of the Tourette’s Association and events such as Camp Twitch have given her confidence since being diagnosed with Tourette’s in 2013.

She has spoken before an audience of hundreds at a TEDx talk in Christchurch. The subject: “I have Tourette’s. Get over it.”

The Harcourts Foundation is proud to be supporting Camp Twitch 2016.

This year 50 attendees with Tourette’s will spend three days in Rotorua with their families. Thanks to the Harcourts Foundation’s $5,000 grant, some of the more exciting attractions the thermal city has to offer will be available – including the gondola and luge.

Analise’s mother Robyn says Camp Twitch simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of groups like the Harcourts Foundation.

“We whole-heartedly thank them for their support and it’s just wonderful that our kids are getting the chance to learn they are not alone and it’s okay.”

Harcourts CEO Chris Kennedy says supporting Camp Twitch was an easy decision for the Harcourts corporate team, who contribute regularly to the Harcourts Foundation.

“This is a group that teaches young people, many in their sensitive teenage years, that they are good enough just as they are. Self-esteem, confidence and a sense of belonging are invaluable gifts and we are so humbled to play just a small part in Camp Twitch.”Tourette's Association