I'm A Teacher With Tourettes & Haters Question It | BORN DIFFERENT
I’m A Teacher With Tourettes & Haters Question It | BORN DIFFERENT follows the story of Colleen Montes, a special needs teacher in Austin, Texas, who has been diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Colleen shares her struggles and triumphs as a teacher with neurodivergent conditions, shedding light on the challenges and misconceptions she faces.
Colleen’s tics, initially dismissed as “mild habits”, grew more severe during the stress of the pandemic, causing her to hit herself and feel compelled to tic four times in a row due to her OCD. Her husband, Joel, and two young children have had to adapt to her changed behavior. Her son, Gavin, initially struggled to adjust, but has become more accepting, while her daughter, Gracie, has grown up accustomed to her mother’s tics.
Colleen’s dedication to teaching, despite her challenges, has made her a role model for her neurodivergent students. She has also navigated misconceptions – some parents have assumed that her Tourette’s would manifest in swearing, a stereotype that she is happy to debunk. Colleen also suppresses her tics to alleviate the discomfort of others, describing it as “exhausting” and “painful”.
Through her story, Colleen hopes to teach her children and students that it’s okay to be different, and to promote understanding and inclusivity. Despite facing initial negative comments online, she is proud to raise awareness for Tourette’s and OCD through her TikTok. Her story is an inspiring reminder that being neurodivergent does not diminish one’s ability to be successful and make a difference.
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And I’m the school teacher with tets and OCD I’ve had Parents assume that I’m swearing at their kids but that’s just a lazy stereotype I do suppress my ticks around pretty much every adult it is exhausting it feels like I’m going to explode my two kids respond to my ticks
Differently when they got worse it was definitely an adjustment she sometimes slaps herself or if I’m talking and she like whistles I get a little annoyed but I try my best to like ignore Her my name is Colleen Montes and I’m a teacher in Austin Texas can you work with him and I will work with him sure I teach at an elementary school I teach special education and the students are typically high functioning but they have very severe behaviors when I first went into
Teaching I did not have severe ticks yet I’m going to give you seven blocks cuz that’s what you have but you need to see if you have enough blocks okay or if you have to regroup the level of stress that I was under um during covid and it being
My first year teaching set my ticks off and at that point that’s where my TRS really kicked in s I obviously went to a doctor to see what was going on and then they diagnosed me a year later with threat syndrome I do get frustrated with my
Text when I’m teaching when it’s a student who picks up behaviors for example I hit the desk and then the student with the repeating behaviors also hit the desk and I have to explain no you don’t do that that’s just my involuntary movements you w you have
N it is exhausting to suppress my ticks it feels like I’m going to explode they’re not painful when I suppress them they’re exhausting but when they come out they are usually painful some parents when I first told them that I had Tourette’s their initial question
Was do you cuss and I just let them know that I do not have what is called Celia it’s actually very rare in people with threats but also if I did have it we would have to deal with it I definitely think all of the students who are aware that I’m neurod
Divergent it really helps them relate to me because they struggle to cope in life and seeing that I also struggle that I’m also able to be successful that helps them to be like oh okay I can do this too hello my husband and I have been married for 4
Years um but we’ve been together for 7 years you want me to get the pan or you what yeah please I’ll get the getting the fruits fruits when we first started dating and I let him know that I have these habits that I thought they were
But a few years later they got really bad and we just had to navigate that together there’s just instances where she’ll like hit herself or you know she had one where she would dig her elbow into her leg and so in those situations it was
Tough to watch cuz I knew it was painful he’s very supportive of me he’s watch can hit me a knife please my OCD affects my Tourette’s in a way that I can’t tick just one time I have to do it until it feels just right and usually that’s four
Times if it’s a painful tick can’t hit myself one time I got to do it four times and that is pretty much every tick that I have all day every day I cut one cut one uhhuh sure be careful though my two kids respond to my ticks
Differently my older one Gavin he grew up without me having ticks good job so when they got worse it was definitely an adjustment for him Gavin it used to be like he constantly would ask me to stop making noises but now he’s more accepting world
Is look I have a robot F my younger child Gracie she has grown up with me having tick so she doesn’t even understand that I do things differently Gavin do you think your mom is different from your friend’s moms um yeah because she has ticks she sometimes slaps herself or whistles I
Feel like that hopefully it doesn’t hurt when she like slaps herself and sometimes I get a little annoyed like if I’m talking and she like whistles I get a little annoyed but I try my best to like ignore it I definitely worry that people are going to think that I’m not good mom
Because I have Tourette’s what do you hope to teach your kids about being different from others that it’s okay to be different and they are different we’re all neurod Divergent um they both have ADHD so they know that they are different and their brains work differently and that’s Okay we’re going to make Gracie’s lunch today no I post Tourette’s and OCD awareness on my Tik Tok so I can’t move my neck today I can’t release my ticks the way I need to because of the excruciating pain in my neck from ticking in the first place I definitely got negative comments
That just said I was faking or I just wanted attention and it really got to me at first and and I did post like proof of my diagnosis like I’m not faking look now everyone is pretty nice and supportive I think he has to pee the thing that I’m most proud of in
My life is probably the way that I’m raising my kids to be super knowledgeable and inclusive of everyone who is different sorry that was not too good and also I get to teach that to my students as well the I’m extremely proud of her it’s
It it takes a lot to come out your shell so for her to go on on Tik Tok and share her story and what she has to deal with every day I think is is huge for her it’s okay to be different it’s okay to be neurod Divergent it doesn’t make us
Any less to young person with Tourette or OCD I would say there’s also ways to cope you’ll be okay I’m okay you’ll be Okay
Author Video Description
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SPECIAL NEEDS TEACHER, Colleen, was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) just a year into her teaching career. Growing up, she had unknowingly developed “mild tics” – but had dismissed these as merely “habits”. It was not until the pandemic in 2020 when the stress of the period triggered her tics to become more severe. She began presenting with more obvious – and sometimes painful – tics, including hitting herself. Not only that, but her OCD would not allow her to tic just once – and, to this day, she usually finds herself compelled to tic four times in a row. Her husband, Joel, remembers finding it “tough to watch because I knew it was painful” and her two young children have had to adapt to her more severe tics too – Colleen’s eldest son, Gavin, struggled to adjust at the start, but “now he’s more accepting”. When Colleen initially experienced her heightened tics, she did not let the subsequent diagnosis dissuade her from pursuing her dream career – and she has become a key role model for the neurodiverse children she teaches: “It really helps them relate to me. Seeing that I also struggle but I’m also able to be successful, that helps them to be like ‘Oh, OK, I can do this too'”. Still, teaching has not been without its challenges for Colleen – she has had parents assume that her Tourette’s would present with her swearing and “cussing”, something that has never manifested for her. Colleen is happy to inform parents of this to alleviate their fears, but will often suppress her tics for the benefit of others too – something she describes as “exhausting, it feels like I’m going to explode”. In order to raise awareness for Tourette’s syndrome and OCD, Colleen has taken to TikTok, where she posts videos of her tics and details her personal experiences. After initially experiencing trolls suggesting she was “faking” her conditions, she has since built an incredibly supportive following and the response she receives now is hugely positive. Colleen’s work is far from done though, as she continues to passionately advocate for young people across the neurodiversity spectrum: “It’s OK to be different, it’s OK to be neurodivergent, it doesn’t make us any less”.
Follow Colleen on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@colleenmontez
Videographer: Davin Fitch
Producers: Kim Nguyen, Tom Buckman, Courtney Buabeng
Editor: Helen McKee
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Video “I'm A Teacher With Tourettes & Haters Question It | BORN DIFFERENT” was uploaded on 01/13/2024 to Youtube Channel truly