Brad Cohen’s Book about Tourette Syndrome: Also a Hallmark Movie

This book about a teacher with Tourette syndrome is a secret treasure that your struggling child with tics will embrace and identify with. Brad has gumption, and he takes us through his life. We start from the time his first symptoms of Tourette syndrome surfaced through all the years he struggled with educators and peers, family.

Why Invest in this Book about Tourette Syndrome

Book about teacher with Tourette syndrome called front of the class
Brad Cohen writes about life as teacher with Tourette Syndrome

His book captures the community-wide misunderstanding that surrounds a Tourette syndrome diagnosis. Parents at odds with their older, angry, disillusioned kid will get an insider’s glimpse into what’s really going on, especially if the lines of communication are down. Unlike clinical books which are treatment and symptom driven, or forums which often times focus on the problems we face in dealing with tics and Tourette syndrome, Brad takes the lead and tells us to take the road less traveled, to embrace these differences and celebrate the disability as it has the power to make our children stronger, empathetic, and mature beyond their years if we could just involve them in positive experiences, surround them with folks that will love and accept them and above all else, inspire them to achieve their own greatness in spite of and because of the tics they endure.

Brad Cohen Front of the Class movie poster
Brad Cohen’s Front of the Class Hallmark Movie

Brad Cohen’s book about living with Tourette syndrome shows us how to weather the bad times and celebrate the good with appreciation and humility. He tells us about the struggles folks with severe Tourettes often face in day to day life when doing what everyone else just takes for granted: going to the movies or out to dinner, sitting in a concert or attending a funeral. The movie delivers this same feel.

The Front of the Class movie about a teacher with Tourette syndrome promises to deliver an authentic story that will complement the book in many ways. And the movie picks up where the book left off, so readers can see how Brad’s life as a teacher with Tourette syndrome has changed so dramatically since his publishing debut.

Brad says,“The actors were simply amazing. Jimmy Wolk plays me as an adult and Dominic Scott Kay plays me as a kid. They both had to study me and my tics. They created their own “Tic Script” because in shooting the film they had to have the same tics in the same place every time they shot the scene in order to be consistent with editing. I quickly noticed that they were doing the tics better than me which really upset me because I’m been practicing my tics for 25 years while they had been doing them for 1 month. They were good actors. Jimmy, Dominic and I bonded right away.”

Behind the Scenes of Front of the Class Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie Set

Brad Cohen’s not the only one that has had to weather the bad times. So did the cast and production crew of his new movie about a teacher with Tourette syndrome- literally!

Brad explains it to us,

“I visited the set in Shreveport, LA 2 times with my wife and my family and we were all impressed by the time and dedication the actors and crew put into the making of the film. Peter Werner, the director, told me it was the first time he had ever had to direct a film through not one, but two hurricanes (Gustov and Ike). The day we lost power because of Ike, the crew didn’t even flinch as they powered up the generators and created their own light and forged ahead.”

I asked Brad to give his readers a sneak peek on what his life is like now, as it has been nearly four years since his book went to print.

“I am now happily married and have been for 2 1/2 years now (to his wife Nancy, pictured above). Right as my final drafts needed to be submitted to the publisher, I met Nancy. I continue to teach but instead of technology and 2nd grade, I now teach the teachers as I do all the staff development at our school, which is hopefully a step towards administration. I continue to interview for assistant principal positions but nothing has worked out yet.”

I can’t wait until Brad’s movie airs. I want to vicariously meet the man that has written such an uplifting story for young people with special needs and celebrate on behalf of all the folks I have met over the last two years who share one very special commonality with me. They’ve been blessed to care for some terrific kids who happen to tic. We often look at those twitches as unwanted flaws, intruders into our child’s otherwise dreamy and ideal lives. We focus, often tirelessly, on trying to fix them, eradicate them, destroy the thing that causes them to be. Brad’s message is evident. Sometimes the affliction that we so condemn is the very thing that molds our children into terrific human beings that not only we, but so many others love as well.

I asked Brad if he could possibly give away a few Front of the Class production secrets. Of course he was more than obliging….

“During my 2nd visit, Peter, the director, pulled me into his trailer to view some of the rough edited scenes and I was truly amazed at the product. It was ten times better than what I thought it would be. The word “powerful” might be an understatement…….tissues nearby for sure. Either way, I was happy in the direction this was going and I can’t wait to see the finished product.”

Oh, yes, Brad also admitted that Nancy has made it into the film as well, and she is being played by Sarah Drew of Everwood and Radio.

Brad also promises that if his cameo doesn’t get cut on the editing room floor, viewers will be able to spot him and his wife in the background of his middle school orchestra concert scene. They have no speaking lines so folks will have to keep an eye out for them and try to spot them. I know I will be watching for them!

Want to read more about Tourette Syndrome on Healthy Family? Check out our archived articles about Tourette syndrome and motor tics.

Visit Brad’s website classperformance.com for more information about his book, movie, and speaking engagements. Or for more information about Brad’s Front of the Class movie about Tourette Syndrome, check out Brad Cohen’s personal blog.

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21 Comments on Brad Cohen’s Book about Tourette Syndrome: Also a Hallmark Movie

  1. Just wanted to say thanks to Brad for working with me over his holiday weekend to get this article ‘just right’–
    Thanks Brad, you were great to work with. Good luck with the paperback release and the movie!

  2. Hi Caryn,

    Loved your article on Brad and Front of the Class! I have the book and agree 100% with you. It is wonderful and Brad is amazingly inspiring. I was disappointed, though, that you did not mention that the book was co-written by Lisa Wysocky (www.lisawysocky.com). Co-writers put a lot of time and effort into a project and have a big impact on its outcome. That the book reads so well is as much as testament to her efforts as Brad’s story. Anyway, I hope a lot of people tune in to the movie Dec. 7 on CBS. I know I will.

  3. Thank you Caryn for giving me the opportunity to share my story with your readers. I’m honored that you thought of me because I believe my story can help make a difference in the lives of many people who both have Tourette’s or not. My story is about giving the underdog a chance and the potential that could happen when the risk is made. I appreciate the positive review and I hope your readers get a chance to either read my book or see the movie. Thanks for all the support.

    Cheers
    Brad

    • I worked with an associate who had Tourettes. I was the only one who understood him. People played tricks on him and he was removed from employment. I felt bad about it and 2 years later I got a phone call from a new employer that allowed me to provide background for him to get a new position. I spoke with authority and as a certified teacher that I “knew” what a good job he could do and that Tourettes was not a limitation form him. Plus he had been on a new medication that really helped tremendously. I talked to the interviewer for 2 hours on a Sunday. At the end I put all my best recommendations for Derek on the phone that I could. I was pleased when I heard he got the job and also was to be married as well. I’m happy that I could do something to help him get a job that he deserved and would be happy in. I could relate well to your story and the classroom, having been a teacher for 7 years myself. Thanks!

  4. Hi there. This is off-topic…Thanks for your comment on my blog. I like your home here too! I was wondering if you’ve read Omnivore’s Dilemma since you have so much info about corn. It’s a great read. I look forward to browsing. Ashley

  5. im in the movie i sit next to the young brad in the classroom from the flash back scenes it airs december 7th 9/8 central

  6. Hi Cody!
    Thanks for stopping by. How exciting for you to be in a movie! I’ve always wondered how people get parts as extras in movies. I imagine this has been quite an experience for you, meeting the actors and getting experience in movie making. We will be watching out for you on Dec. 7th! Stop back again soon!

  7. Hi Caryn,
    I really enjoyed reading your article about Brad Cohen. After reading all of your comments to parents and young people encouraging them to read this wonderful book, I was wondering if you were aware of a recent YA novel published by another former school teacher who also has Tourettes. Jerk, California was released this September by Penguin and the main character, Sam, is a high school senior with TS. Jonathan Friesen, the author, was diagnosed later in life with TS. Jonathan’s comment about his book follow:

    “It’s not your typical YA novel. Then again, Tourette Syndrome isn’t a typical condition. My own twitching hand is proof of that. Above all, I wanted to write it real–how it looks, how it feels. It took years to get it right, but the story was worth the wait!”

    I would be glad to send you a copy of this book if you would be interested in taking a look at it. After reading Jerk, California, I felt a door of understanding about this difficult condition had opened for me.
    Hope to hear from you.
    Gail Smith

  8. Hello! I just finished watching the movie, Front of the Class. Words can’t describe how moving it was for me. I have severe TS (both motor and vocal) almost identical to what I witness in the movie… I’m currently an engineering student at UM and I just sent an email to the feature writer, James A. Fussell to thank him for his and Brad Cohen’s work.

    Thank you as well, Caryn Talty, for this article. The article was extremely well-written and it has convinced me to save up and buy a copy of his book.

    I’m wondering if it would be possible to communicate directly with Brad Cohen by email? Thanks again to everyone for all the good you’ve done.

  9. Brad,
    You are a remarkable Man!!! You give inspiration for anyone who is different in a world where people are looked at being the same. My son has multiple birth defects and has had multiple surgeries and people try to put limits on what he is capable of doing. He’s already past some of the limits they put on him. You life means a lot to me and gives me hope for my own son.
    Michelle Jasperson
    Minnesota

  10. My son 11yo just loved the movie about Brad. He watched it 3 times in a 2 days. We had it our DVR and somehow it got erased and we can’t seem to find a copy of the movie. He wants to share this movie with his princpal and our Church youth pastor. We are so disappointed we can’t find a copy anyplace. Can you please help us please? Maybe you can forward this to Brad. Nicholas has tourettes and has enough courage to talk to his school about his challenges with this neurological surprize. We will pay for a copy, please letr us know.
    Thank you Terri

    • Terri,
      Brad said the DVD is scheduled to come out March 25 and should be at most Hallmark stores. I am not sure, but it may be possible to pre-order them at your local Hallmark store if you call and ask.

  11. Hi my name is Karl. I have TS also. Motor tics and Vocal tics. I am 51 years old and have had TS since I was 11 years old. When I was a kid growing up they did not know what was wrong with me. They put me in a Special Education Class. It was very hard growing up. My parents would take me to the Doctor’s. The Doctor’s would persribe all these different medications for me to take. And, none of these medications would work for me. So, after years of taking all these different medications I’ve decided to stop taking them. I felt like a human experiment. I am writing in regards to the Hallmark Movie, Front Of The Class. I just seen on T.V. I want to Thank Hallmark for Airing this on T.V. In all the years, I’ve never seen a Movie on Tourette Syndrome. Thank You Hallmark Again, I hope you Air this on T.V. again and again. It will definitely Educate People. And maybe, it will be a little easier on people with Tourette Syndrome if people seen this Great Movie that You, Brad Cohen and the Hallmark People Made Possible for people to see. Thank You, Karl.

  12. Hallmark did a great job making Brad Cohen’s movie which I saw last night. I especially liked the back drop of that sweet little girl who died of Cancer. We must recognize, like her mother, that it is one’s goodness that somehow transcends all else.

    Thank you, Brad, for being who you are. Now, we the viewers and readers get to experience that wonderful positive energy that has graced your family, friends, community and most of all, your students. We need more teachers like you.

    Thanks,
    Larry Esposito

  13. Thanks Brad and Hallmark. I watched in yesterday (May 2) here in Jamaica, West Indies and it certainly touched me. Thanks for everything.

  14. i loved the story, he was a great man & also a great teacher, he was an inspiration to all the teachers.
    my mom was a teacher…and I’m so proud to my mom, and also to all the teachers who’s like Brad Cohen… it was a very great story!

    -BRAD COHEN was a great TEACHER!!!

  15. Hi,
    I am a teacher in a Christian school. All of our teachers saw the movie at an in-service meeting. I cried and was so inspired by Brad. We are required to include all students in our classrooms and I am so glad we practice this. We need more Brad’s in our schools and classrooms. Laura Kryger

  16. Hello,
    I just wanted to say Thank You for your article! I caught a part of this movie on Hallmark and didn’t know the name of the movie until I saw your posting. THANK YOU because now I can watch it in its entirety!

  17. I am working with my high school son facing the challenges of high functioning autism, and the gifts of his innate musical ability to compose original music on all types of keyboards, and seeing him use his gifts to reach other students on the spectrum. I have recently met a gifted college level graphic design student who is currently collaborating with me on Creating “Alphabetitus” (TM) a new website for educational information and resources for autism who, like you, has worked and succeeded far beyond his own childhood Tourette’s and so, his insights are invaluable to me and his successes are more impressive to me after seeing this movie. Thank you.

  18. I have been teaching for 10 years with Tourette’s. Previously I had worked in retailing(WalMart) unfortunately could never advance due to prejudices from upper managmeent due to them not understanding that it did not affect my ability.

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