Monday, December 8, 2008

Front of the Class

Last night we watched Front of the Class, the true story of Brad Cohen, a Georgia teacher who has Tourette's. I heard about the movie on the radio the day before it aired and later that day I saw his book at the bookstore. I was very excited to watch the movie and it did not disappoint.

This was the first positive and accurate depiction of Tourette's Syndrome that I have ever seen in a movie. Usually Tourette's is just used for jokes or the very rare symptom of copralalia (cussing) is highlighted. The actor portraying Brad Cohen had the tics down pat. I cannot even imagine the acting talent it took to do that.

The girls watched the first part of the movie with us and I was interested to see how they would react. I told them it was a movie about a teacher with Tourette's. Sweetheart asked what Tourette's was and I said, "he has tics." She knew what that meant as we usually talk about her sister's "tics" and don't really use the word "Tourette's" when we discuss them. As soon as the movie started Sweetheart said, "Mom! I just saw a tic!!"

Little Bit watched the movie until she fell asleep. She wanted to know why Patricia Heaton (playing Brad's mother) was crying in one part of the movie.

"She's happy they finally figured out what was wrong with him," I told her.

"What's wrong with him?" Little Bit asked.

"He has Tourette's Syndrome," I told her.


Apparently, that had nothing to do with her! :) I guess she didn't really see any similarities between Brad and herself. To be fair, she doesn't have very many vocal tics---mostly just motor tics. However, I think as she becomes more aware of her tics, this movie may one day be a very positive thing for her to watch. I know this was one thing I found lacking in all the information I found on the web back when we were researching Little Bit's tics--a real story about how TS affects a real person. It was nice to see.

I'm very impressed with the story and with Brad Cohen himself. You can read more about him at his website. Thanks to all my friends who watched the movie too and those who e-mailed me to ask about it. I appreciate you thinking of us.


  1. Hope I'll get to see this movie some time! I also heard about it on the radio. Glad it was a blessing to you and your family.

  2. Thanks for sharing this movie, and your journey. My dd 7 gets tics when she is nervous... I was quite surprised when they revealed themselves at a christmas program 3 years ago... now I am amazed how many folks share this challenge. Are there other symptoms that can relate it to tourettes as a diagnosis?

  3. I see people with tics all the time now too! Basically for the diagnosis, they must have both motor and at least one vocal tic for 12 months. The tics can go away, but never for more than 3 months in that 12 months time period. My daughter's get worse when she's stressed or scared or excited.

  4. Sounds like a truly remarkable and uplifting life story. I hope to see it some day soon.

  5. I hope they air it again. I've gone to his blog and watched his video. He's pretty awesome and what he's doing is fantastic!

  6. My husband started watching this movie and started laughing when isaid I wanted to go to bed because he said he was totally sucked in to it! So I sat down and watched the rest of it with him! It was SO good. I am happy that it helped you to watch it :)

  7. Hi Brenda,
    We got the movie turned on at about 8:40. What we saw of it was good, and very inspiring. Also, it was very good for a Hallmark movie. (My husband thinks Hallmark movies are usually sooooo slow.) I bet his book would be interesting.

  8. What an amazing thing! I had never heard of this man before, but for him to reach out to others and be an example of success and happiness with what is usually SO unknown and scary to people unexposed to it, is great.

    I'm glad it was a blessing and a boost to you. Have a happy day!

  9. My husband and I watched this movie on television and I was very impressed with the actor as well. I was wondering beforehand if I would "catch" the tics because I heard that can happen with people who have Tourette's. I didn't though.

  10. ugh!! i didn't get to see this!! the latest tic is banging his teeth together....God gives grace when we need it though!! how is everything with you??

  11. I would love to see that movie. The promos I saw didn't make it clear what the big deal was supposed to be, so I figured it was your standard "they said he couldn't and he did anyway" inspirational teacher story.
    My son is flirting with sensory processing disorder, so I love reading your posts about having a small child with a neurological condition. My son's two, so we're nowhere near the "How do we explain this to HIM?" stage yet. Thank you so much for sharing all this!


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)