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Stratford College student Cece explains living with Tourette's

Photography student Cece Arthurs. Photo: Mark Williamson
Photography student Cece Arthurs. Photo: Mark Williamson

PHOTOGRAPHY student Cece Arthurs has offered her peers and tutors a glimpse into life with Tourette’s syndrome.

Cece, 17, grabbed the attention of her course mates when she delivered a presentation describing how she went from barely speaking for four years at school to finally finding her voice at Stratford College.

She said: “In my old school I had to suppress my tics out of fear that 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 wanted her classmates to understand the condition and feel comfortable asking questions about it. Lecturer Sophie Jolly said: “Cece approached me and asked if she could deliver this presentation to the class. It was touching and educational. I felt so immensely proud of her.”

In her presentation, Cece explained that TS is a medical condition caused by tics – a movement or sound the body has no control over – and delved into how to interact when someone has tics.

And her message is connecting as she recently received almost 20,000 likes on a video about the subject on social media platform TikTok.

Tourettes Action, a charity supporting those living with TS, estimates that the condition affects more than 300,000 people in the UK.

Among its various challenges, lockdown has brought something new to contend with – masks. Cece explained: “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.”

She urged others to be mindful of reprimanding people for not wearing a mask and be aware of hidden disability sunflower lanyards, which are available for students and staff at the college.

Upon completion of her course, Cece, from Evesham, hopes to work in a studio for wedding photography and family portraits, with the aim of eventually starting her own photography business.

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