Scholarships for Students with Tourette Syndrome
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Tourette Syndrome (TS), named after French neurologist Georges Gilles de la Tourette, is a genetically based neurological condition that causes physical and vocal tics, involuntary movements, and utterances, due to its impact on the basal ganglia in the brain. Despite being initially perceived as a psychiatric problem, TS is now recognized as an organic condition, but the historical stigma associated with its unusual symptoms persists.
The severity of TS varies among individuals and determines whether it is classified as a disability. As a result, some individuals who have obtained disability classification due to TS may be eligible for scholarships that are not available to other TS patients.
Scholarships for College Students with TS
The New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders The New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) is an advocacy group that provides education about TS and referrals to agencies that support children with TS (which typically manifests in childhood) and their families in leading normal lives. Each year, the organization sponsors the NJCTS Children’s Scholarship for high school seniors in New Jersey who have received a TS diagnosis.
The scholarship considers various aspects of applicants’ lives, including academic history, personal references, the quality and content of the required essay, and any talents (an audio or video recording may be submitted). The judges aim to encourage candidates who have overcome the challenges posed by TS to achieve their goals in college or trade school.
Western Illinois University
Western Illinois University (WIU) offers the Chad Stovall Memorial Scholarship of $500 in honor of a deceased student with TS. This scholarship is open to students diagnosed with TS, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or attention deficit disorder.
To be eligible, applicants must provide a diagnosis of one of the specified disorders. Students in any year of college can apply, and financial need will be considered. A reference letter from a WIU staff member or faculty member is required. For more information about the award, you can contact WIU’s Disability Resource Center.
Scholarships for Camps for TS Patients
Like many special needs camps, camps for children with TS often offer financial assistance to families in need. The camps listed below are examples, but not an exhaustive list, of such organizations.
Tourette Syndrome Camping Organization (TSCO)
TSCO hosts the Tourette Syndrome Camp USA every year in Illinois, which welcomes both children with TS and those without TS. While the camp structure is slightly modified to accommodate TS patients, no therapeutic assistance is provided as the goal is to provide a typical camp experience.
TSCO is sensitive to families with financial needs and provides detailed information on pricing (dependent on the rate charged by the YMCA camp where the camp takes place). Requests for assistance are kept confidential, and TSCO works with each family to ensure that no child who wants to attend the camp is denied due to financial challenges.
Tourette Syndrome Association of Texas
The Tourette Syndrome Association of Texas generously funds its Camp du Ballon Rouge (Red Balloon Camp) entirely through donations, allowing children with TS to attend the camp free of charge. The camp takes place over one weekend each year and includes over a hundred children and medical staff.
Donors can contribute $100 for “virtual red balloons” that represent the actual balloons released by children at the camp, each containing a wish.
Camp Twitch and Shout
Camp Twitch and Shout is a one-week summer camp for children between the ages of seven and 16 who have been diagnosed with TS. There is also a Leadership Training option for junior counselors aged 16 to 18. The camp’s director is a TS patient who understands the challenges children who suffer from TS can face in social situations, and the camp provides both full and partial scholarships to families who would otherwise be unable to send their children.