DUNKLEY federal MP Chris Crewther has revealed he has Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder featuring involuntary vocal and movement tics.
The Liberal MP helped launch the Parliamentary Friendship Group of Tourette Syndrome in Canberra last week and said he personally had suffered from Tourettes before its diagnosis.
“I have Tourette’s. This is the first time I have raised this publicly, or in any job, or beyond close friends and family,” he said in Parliament last Wednesday (9 November).
“Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder. It consists of vocal and motor tics, that is, rapid, repetitive and involuntary muscle movements.
“For example, eye blinking, head jerking and repetitive limb movements and throat clearing. They are irresistible and eventually must be performed.”
Despite widespread belief, many Tourette’s affected people do not involuntarily swear and curse.
“Tourette’s usually begins between 2 and 21, with the average age of 7–8. Current prevalence is 1 per cent in children, with boys three to four times more likely to have it.
“My symptoms began between grades 1-3. Unfortunately, I wasn’t diagnosed until my early 20s. This meant a lot of bullying at school for ‘habits’, which many kids with Tourette’s experience.”
Mr Crewther said he had considered mentioning the condition during his maiden Parliamentary speech after his election in July but decided to focus on policy.
He felt the time was now right to let others know they are not alone in dealing with the symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome.
“I am proud … to launch the Parliamentary Friendship Group of Tourette Syndrome, joined by the president of Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia, Robyn Latimer, and runner-up in The Voice, Adam Ladell who also has Tourette’s.
“I hope Adam and I are evidence that people with Tourette’s can achieve anything.”
See tourette.org.au or call the Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia on 02 9382 3726 for information on help to deal with Tourette’s.