Brave nine-year-old Leeds schoolboy Nicolae Smith makes book about his struggles with Tourette's syndrome to inspire other children
A nine-year-old boy from Leeds has written a book about his struggles with Tourette's syndrome in a bid to inspire other children and raise awareness of the condition.
Brave Nicolae Smith crafted the book at his home in Rodley to help him come to terms with the daily challenges he has to overcome.
Tourette's syndrome is a condition that causes a person to make involuntary sounds and movements called tics.
Nicolae's mum, Charlotte, said the book, called My Monster Called Tic, is proving a big hit since she posted a Facebook video of the youngster reading it aloud.
Charlotte released the images in time for Tourette Syndorme Awareness Day, which is being held today.
She said: "Nicolae has suffered with Tourette's syndrome since he was four, but it has worsened in the last year.
"I just wanted to make everyone aware that Tourette's is no laughing matter.
"You may watch him and see his head jerk or make funny noises, but these movements and noises cause physical and emotional pain.
"Nicolae didn't choose to have Tourette's and he can't opt out.
"Teach your children to know that this isn't a reason to bully. Teach them to be kind and considerate."
Nicolae was also a special guest at Poetry on the Moor, in Baildon, where he read his illustrated poem at an open event yesterday (June 6)
Charlotte added: "It's been a really great response from the the people who have seen it so far.
"I put it on a Tourette's syndrome parents' page and got so many positive comments, with people saying they hope Nicolae's book gets published.
"I think writing it and doing the drawing to express how he feels has really helped him understand what he has to go through.
"We didn't expect the response that it has had so far but it's great if it can help other children too."
Tourette's usually starts during childhood, but the tics and other symptoms usually improve after several years and sometimes go away completely.
There's no cure for the condition but treatment can help manage symptoms.
People with Tourette's syndrome may also have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or learning difficulties.
Charlotte said: "So many people are unaware of what Tourette's actually is. They think it is just about swearing but it isn't.
"Tourette's often doesn't come on its own. Nicolae also has OCD and suffers anxiety in stressful situations, especially when people don't understand and stare or point at him."
Here is Nicolae's poem:
My Monster Called Tic
Tic is my monster.
Tic doesn't live under the bed.
He doesn't live under the closet.
Tic lives in my head.
Everywhere I go, Tic comes too.
He makes me feel crazy in the things that I do.
Tic says cough, grunt, sniff or snort.
I don't want to do any of the sort.
A twitch, head jerk and a blink.
He doesn't help me when I need to think.
Tic comes to school five days of the week.
Other kids laugh and make fun when they speak.
I don't like Tic, he hurts my head.
He hurts my feelings with the things that I've said.
He makes me do things that I don't want to do.
Oh Tic, I wish I could get rid of you!