Watch the movie about Tourette syndrome that tells the incredible story of Brad Cohen’s life. The CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame original movie is about a teacher with Tourette syndrome. Read Cohen’s 2005 book, co-written with Lisa Wysocky, entitled: Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had to get an additional peek into the story behind the wonderfully inspiring movie.
The book is very simplistically written, at approximately a middle school level, and I recommend that parents of children with tics invest in it and either give it to their kids or read it out loud with them. Really celebrate this book together and focus on all the goodness it provides in the long term.
I think Brad’s story about a teacher with Tourette syndrome will have a lasting impression that the movie alone may not fully capture. The book shows a smooth and coherent Brad speaking clearly to us without the physical barriers of Tourette syndrome to distract us. And the book really takes you on a journey that I imagine can’t be captured fully in a 2 hour film.
But the Hallmark folks are not going to disappoint their viewers with their film.
Front of the Class Movie about Tourette Syndrome is Realistic
Brad promises that it is as true to his real life as possible. He says, “Hallmark Hall of Fame decided they wanted to create a family movie and have my story be as authentic as possible. They wanted it to be as real as possible even down to my exact tics I do.”
Book Goes Deeper than the Hallmark Movie about Tourette Syndrome
Brad Cohen’s story about a teacher with Tourette syndrome is uplifting. He coaches us to hang in there, fight the fight, never give up and above all else, celebrate this distraction as a “constant companion”.
The book about living with Tourette syndrome reads much like I imagine Brad speaks, minus the interjections of his occasional vocals.
Who he is in your mind’s eye is Brad, the truly centered, determined, and confident Brad. This is what he desperately tries to display to the folks in the real world. But ironically, it is the folks in his literary world that really get it, get that part of him that only his real friends get. The other folks in his life– his childhood teachers, elementary classmates, and later the restaurant workers, theater managers, sports fans, don’t. Even the 24 school principals who interview him but refused to hire him didn’t.
Readers will understand that these folks just can’t see past his involuntary interruptions long enough to get to know him as a living, breathing, intelligent thinking human being with basic rights. But still he plugs on, despite the Tourette syndrome. He often times shows empathy for the very people who ridicule him, too.
“My life with Tourette’s has made me realize that everyone has a ‘thing’ that haunts them in some way. It might be prejudice or chronic illness. It might be physical limitations or life circumstances or ego or pride or jealousy or hate, but everyone has their thing. When we can control the thing, we feel empowered and optimistic. But when the thing wins, we travel the road to despair. The key is to find a road that leads around your particular limitation, a road that maybe has more bends in it but gets you to the same point in the end” (Cohen, 83).