Making Different the New Normal

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Because Tourette syndrome is accompanied by motor and verbal tics, Ariel stood out from his classmates and was often teased for his behavior. “In middle school, I would blurt out words in class…I tried to make it into a funny thing so other students would laugh, and I would be kicked out of class a lot,” Small says.

Ariel’s class clown behavior eventually led to a school suspension. The incident marked a turning point for the young man. Instead of hiding behind his Tourette’s, he decided to better understand the disorder and embrace it as a part of him. He worked with his psychiatrist, Dr. Henry Gault, to learn how to deal with the psychological effects of the disorder.

Dr. Gault believes raising awareness about Tourette’s is key, especially in school systems. He thinks teachers and students should learn about the disorder, so they can embrace students who suffer from Tourette’s.

As Ariel’s confidence grew, he joined the Tourette Syndrome Association and started to spread awareness about the disorder. In 2012, the young man had the opportunity to share his journey in a documentary called “Different is the New Normal.”

Today, Ariel is a college student and he continues to spread the message that even with Tourette’s anything is possible.

For more information about the documentary, visit this site.

For more information about Tourette syndrome, visit this site.


  • Over 200,000 Americans suffer from Tourette Syndrome
  • The hereditary disorder usually appears during childhood
  • Tourette Syndrome is a neurological condition accompanied by motor and verbal tics
  • Tics are often manageable, and sometimes they lessen as children get older


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