Local High School Student Advocates For Tourette Awareness

By Anastasia Marchese

Randolph High School senior, Noah Feldstein, comes by his passion for educating people about Tourette Syndrome (TS) naturally.

Ten years ago when Noah was diagnosed with TS his father, Jeffrey Feldstein said that they chose not tell him right away.

“We didn’t want to put a label on him.” After the diagnosis however, Feldstein started to notice that Noah, “was able to do things that were a little different than other kids.”

Noah used to enjoy playing golf with his father and was pretty good player. Feldstein said he started to ask his son to try and do things that were above his current skill level, like aiming at a tree that was beyond his hitting range. First Noah would assess the situation, looking at the target and the ball. Then Feldstein recalls, “he would close his eyes for like 15 seconds before he swung. Out of nine holes, eight holes he came very close to the target. He is able to channel himself.”

It seemed that Noah was able to do these difficult tasks by assessing the situation and focusing without letting the distractions of possible failure discourage him.

Based on his observations, Feldstein went on to write the book, “There Ain’t No Can’t.” He describes the first half of the book as “a child’s struggle through Tourettes” and the second part applies the strategies that Noah used “overcoming adversity and challenges.”

Feldstein used to take his book and speak at schools and other organizations and talk about TS to raise awareness of nature of the disease. He became an advocate for TS awareness.

Now his son Noah has decided to be a TS advocate as well. This year he attended the Tim Howard Leadership Academy which was held at Rutgers University. Twenty five to thrity students are chosen from around the state to attend.

Tim Howard is a goalie for an American pro soccer team who hails from NJ and was also diagnosed with TS. He started the Leadership Academy to train up young people who either have Tourettes or have a sibling with Tourettes to be prepared to go present the facts about TS to school groups and organizations. According to the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome (NJCTS), “It is estimated that more than 200,000 Americans have full-blown TS, and that as many as one in 100 show a partial expression of the disorder—such as chronic multiple tics or transient childhood tics.”

 

Recently NJCTS held its annual walk in North Jersey. This year it was held on Nov. 12 at Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park. The Feldstein family has participated in the walk for quite a few years but this year Noah was asked to make one of the opening statements.

According to Lisa Fortunato, communications manager for NJCTS, there were approximately 150 people in attendance at this year’s walk, which was the first time it was held at this location. When asked about people’s response to the statistics regarding TS she said, “Generally people are surprised by that. It looks different in everybody. It is a fairly common disorder.”

Feldstein’s book can be purchased through NJCTS and all sales of “Ain’t No Can’t” t-shirts, hats, and books go directly to the organization. “We love the organization as a family. It is near and dear to our hearts.”

To find out more about TS and the NJCTS, go to www.njcts.org.

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