Tourette kids cop public shaming from security officers
YOUNG members of a Tourette syndrome support group were left distraught and humiliated after being taunted by security officers and members of the public at South Bank.
The children, who were at the park for a monthly get together, all have Tourette syndrome, a complex and often-misunderstood condition that can involve uncontrollable movements and sounds, known as tics.
Diane Schubert, whose 12-year-old son Cameron has the condition, runs the Tourettes Brisbane Support Group and said the children had gone for a walk while their parents were catching up.
"They try to keep their distance from people because some of them have coprolalia (involuntary outbursts of obscenities), but they were approached by a man who had a go at them," she said.
"The kids explained they had Tourettes but he said 'I'll f--king show you Tourettes' and carried on and kept staring and pointing at them, which made them feel quite uncomfortable."
Shortly afterwards, the children were approached by security officers who ignored their explanation that they had the condition.
"I can understand they're making sure a bunch of kids aren't being a problem at the park but they didn't believe them and asked them for medical evidence, which obviously they don't carry," Mrs Schubert said.
"They told them to stop swearing, which they can't control.
"It takes a long time to build up your confidence when you have a condition like this and their confidence was pretty rocked by that, which is terrible."
Another woman later took to following the children and filming them, despite their protests.
"One of the young girls who was there is 16 and she's never had what we call a tic attack and this caused her to have an anxiety attack and made it quite awful for her," Mrs Schubert said.
People with Tourette syndrome often have associated disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, rage attacks, sleep issues and depression.
"A lot of people are understanding, but as a mum it can be quite hard when people are cruel or judgmental and don't understand," Mrs Schubert said.
Cameron, 12, said the unkind treatment at South Bank was difficult to deal with.
"I'm kind of used to people saying things and being mean and rude but I was a bit disgusted," he said.
"A lot of people don't understand and I want to get the word out there."
Cameron said most people did not realise that Tourette syndrome involved more than just swearing outbursts.
"Some people bully me a bit at school because of it," he said.
"It definitely makes it worse."
A spokesman for the security company employed by the South Bank Corporation refused to comment.