Tourette's syndrome in contemporary fiction

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Psychology
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Tourette syndrome (TS) is defined as a “movement disorder” which is manifested in childhood and characterized by a “the presence of motor and phonic tics”.1 TS is also linked to symptoms of obsessive-compulsive behavior, poor attention spans, impulsive tendencies and…

Introduction

This new form of literature engages in a journey into the mind and emotions of mankind.3 This essay examines the representation of TS in contemporary fiction by reference to TS and duality and the relationship between cognitive disability and space.
TS is defined as neurological in nature and is attributed to a brain malfunction and is commonly believed to be genetic. The most common symptoms of TS are repetitious tics (stereotypies). Motor tics are involuntary and impact bodily movements especially in the face, legs, neck or head. Vocal/phonic tics are manifested by repetitious and involuntary sounds which can be grunting, coughing or the uttering of words and sentences.4 The symptoms are manifested by the time the patient is 18 years old.5
The stereotypies in TS are similar to the stereotypies in autism spectrum disorders and like autism can be triggered by stressful social situations.6 The reality is that children who suffer the physical symptoms of TS and Autism can have difficulty moving in social settings. Complicating matters, the constant concern expressed by loved ones and caregivers can only exacerbate the symptoms. Children in particular experience a great deal of stress and tension in social settings can cause responses that give way to more aggressive tics (TS) and stimming/self-stimulation (autism).7 Thus there is a clear understanding of how TS impacts the mind and the body and this sets a medical and psychological background for analyzing representations of TS in contemporary literature.
C. S. Friedman’s This Alien Shore does not specifically identify TS or autism, yet the symptoms are clearly manifested in two of the characters.8 Thus, This Alien Shore can be viewed as symbolic of the struggles implicit in neurodiversity. Friedman sets the stage for these struggles in a futuristic society in which alien encounters can be viewed ...
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