12-year-old GOSH patient Rupert is one of three children whose experiences of living with Tourette syndrome will be featured in CBBC’s ongoing documentary series ‘My Life’. The episode – titled ‘What Makes Me Tic’ – follows Rupert as he comes to GOSH for pioneering therapy to help him manage his condition.
In the episode, Dr Tara Murphy shows Rupert two behavioural treatments for patients with Tourette syndrome – habit reversal training (HRT) and exposure with response prevention (ERP). These help him to zone in on the urge that a tic is about to come, and then suppress the tic or perform an action so the tic can’t come out.
Here’s what Rupert had to say:
Why did you decide to take part in the documentary?
When I was diagnosed I was very frightened, but being given the chance to learn ERP and HRT gave me confidence for my future. I wanted everyone else that has Tourette syndrome to know what help is available for them.
From all the time spent filming, did you learn anything about how TV programmes are made that surprised you?
I was surprised at how I got used to having the crew with me all the time. And also how much filming I did, even though they couldn’t show all of it.
How does living with Tourette syndrome affect your day-to-day life, for instance at school, or if you are out with friends?
Sometimes my tics stop me from speaking. It really hurts me, and at school it can be difficult and embarrassing. Outside of school with my friends it’s not so bad, as they all understand what happens to me.
How did you feel meeting other children with Tourette syndrome for the first time through the group sessions at GOSH?
I was very nervous to meet other children with Tourette’s to begin with, but it was great to feel like I am not alone.
How has HRT and ERP helped you?
It was hard work learning it and I practised a lot, so now I can at times control my tics.
Do you have any stand out memories of being able to do something you weren't able to do before coming to GOSH?
I couldn’t go to the cinema. Now I can sit in the cinema with my friends and for a while control my tics – it’s been great!
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Notes to Editors
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust is the country’s leading centre for treating sick children, with the widest range of specialists under one roof.
With the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, we are the largest centre for paediatric research outside the US and play a key role in training children’s health specialists for the future.
Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity needs to raise money to support the hospital to give children who need help the most the best chance for life. The charity funds patient and family support programmes, provides the latest medical equipment and supports the essential redevelopment of the hospital. It has also launched a five-year strategy to support research in some of the most serious and complex childhood diseases. Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is the largest dedicated funder of paediatric research in the UK and our work is entirely funded through the generosity of supporter donations. For more information visit www.gosh.org