Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sue Scheff: Who is Jaylen? Help STOP Childhood Bullying

I recently wrote an article for the about Teens that inspire.
In the comments, I was introduced to an amazing young boy, only 8 years old, that embodies the word "inspiration." So who is Jaylen Arnold? Read all about him!

My name is Jaylen Arnold, I am 8 years old and in the 2nd grade. I am ready to change the world through my challenge! I want to STOP childhood bullying! I made this page to help put an end to kids that bully other kids...especially disabled ones.

I am a disabled child who suffers from Tourette's Syndrome (TS - a Neurological Disorder), Aspergers Syndrome (ASP - a broad spectrum Autism Disorder), and severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD - much more than just washing your hands or checking things over and over...believe me)!

I began symptoms of Tourette when I was 2 years old. The diagnosis came at age 3. The OCD followed by age 4, and more recently, the Aspergers was diagnosed at age 8.

So I am what some might call an alpahabet kid. See look, here is my name: Jaylen Arnold, TS, OCD, ASP (I am beginning to have all the letters of the alphabet behind my name) he!he!

My mom says I'm a kind and loving boy. My dad says I'm really intelligent. IQ test scores say I'm 3 points below genius. But I say, God made me really special and I know that if I try super duper hard, I can do anything I want to do. One day, I'm going to be on the Disney Channel & You Tube educating people about teasing and bullying! And one day, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and The Jonas Brothers will be wearing my armband to help stop bullying! I've never heard her sing, but Oprah has a lot of fans, I know she can help me with bullies. When I grow up, I want to be a dentist (hope my tics don't interfere with me having my hands in your mouth)!

I love all people and all kinds of things - unless your coughing and sick - in that case, I will wave & flap you away because with my severe OCD, I'm really quite the germ-o-phobe. I just can't help it. I can actually feel your germs landing on my toungue if you don't completely cover your cough or sneeze! Even if you are a long way from me. If I can hear you cough, I got the wave going on!

I have complex Tourette's which means I have vocal "tics" and motor "tics" pretty severly. They interrupt my daily living and are quite troubling. If you don't know what "tics" are just hang around and you'll soon find out. (No they are not the bugs - ticks) he!he! I also often yell out the word BAM! for no apparent reason.

There is no cure. They don't really know too much about this disorder. There are very few medicines available and they come with very bad side effects. I'm a little guy so my parents don't want to take a chance on me taking these medicines that can give me a heart they protect me naturally, the best they can. I just want the "tics" to stop. You control your body, my body controls me (and boy does it ever). he! he! BAM!

My parents have always protected my environment by sending me to a private school. At my school everyone is mostly accepting and loving to me. We are like a family. One day, I decided I was a big boy and I wanted to go to regular school. Boy, that was a mistake! My disorders got way worse with the stress. The doctors say my disorders cause me to have a lot of anxiety. I witnessed a lot of fighting and meanness. I don't like fighting. I was really scared for the other kids to see my "tics" and know that I was different. I was trying so hard to hold them in. I would go to the hall and try to get them out. Eventually, I couldn't hold them in. It's like a big can hold it for a few seconds, but then it just blows out really hard. BAM! I was soon "ticcing" all day long. The other kids were copying my tics.

One day the teacher put a little sign on me that said I had a medical condition, Tourette Syndrome. My parents really didn't like that too much. It was embarrassing because the kids then knew I had something wrong. Before that, they thought my noises and movements were me being a class clown. I was okay with that, as long as they didn't know the truth! My condition got so bad that I began hurting myself with my tics. I didn't mean to, but my stress and overstimulation was so bad that my "tics" got very hard.

The muscles used to perform the tics were contracting very hard. The Dr. called those "violent tics". I was crying one night because I was hurting so bad, and when my mom saw how I was bruising myself from the tics, she took me right out of that school and I am now back at my Christian school. She kept me at home for a bit ~ we made a video for you to see on the videos page. You see when your tics get that bad, it takes weeks or months for those tics to calm down. I had to decompress and become de-sensitized. I love my school. Those kids don't bully or tease me. They love me for who I am and I want all kids to experience the same feeling.

Read more and learn how you can help Jaylen too! Visit Jaylen's Challenge and follow him on Twitter at @JaysChallenge

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