A BRAVE Evesham photography student at Stratford-upon-Avon College offered friends and tutors a glimpse into her life with Tourette’s syndrome.
Cece Arthurs, 17, grabbed the attention of her course mates as she delivered an informative presentation on what Tourette’s syndrome (TS) is and how she went from barely speaking for four years at school to finally finding her voice.
The courageous teen wanted her classmates to understand the condition and to feel comfortable asking her questions about it.
In her presentation, she explained TS is a medical condition caused by tics – a movement or a sound that her body has no control over, and further delved into the do’s and don’ts of how to interact when someone is having tics.
“It really upsets me when people pretend to tic after me or tell me they feel like ticcing when they see me as it really downplays my experience of someone living with Tourette’s,” Cece said.
“In my old school I had to suppress my tics out of fear I’d get bullied or made fun of, but our photography class is so close that from the second week I was comfortable enough to stop suppressing them because it’s such an accepting environment.”
Cece’s message made a connection as she received almost 20,000 likes on her TikTok video about the subject.
Sixth Form wasn’t for Cece and so at the start of lockdown she applied to Stratford-upon-Avon College where she has been able to focus all her attention on photography.
Tourettes Action, a charity supporting those living with TS, estimates that the condition affects over 300,000 people in the UK.
Amongst the various challenges that having TS brings, lockdown has brought with it something new to contend with – masks.
“I wear a mask most of the time but sometimes my tics make it hard to breathe so I have to take it off and I also occasionally have a tic where I flick the mask off. I’ve been shouted at in lots of different places even when I’m wearing them, Cece said.
Upon completion of her course, Cece would like to work in a studio for wedding photography and family portraits with the hope to eventually start her own photography business.