This is a book about a boy with Tourette's Syndrome. I first became interested in Tourette's Syndrome a few semesters ago when we were asked to read Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had, by Brad Cohen. This book is happy, and sad, and inspiring. Brad Cohen talks about his experiences with Tourettes Syndrome as a child and as an adult. It appals me the way he was treated in the classroom, not only by his peers, but by his teachers as well. Everyone wanted him to stop barking, and stop jerking around, and to just sit still and be quiet, but he couldn't. So when I saw the title, I Can't Stop: A Story About Tourette Syndrome, I just had to read it. You can read about special needs in text books, but when you read a real life story about someone with special needs, it becomes real to you. After reading about Brad Cohen, I just had to read more about Tourette's Syndrome, and this was my chance to do it, since there really are not that many books on it.
Nathan is the boy in this book that has Tourette's Syndrome. Much like Brad Cohen, Nathans teachers and classmates do not understand why he doesn't stop sniffing, or barking or jerking his head. Even his mother demanded him to stop, and could not understand why he wouldn't. They took Nathan to the doctors and the doctor said Nathan had Tourette's Syndrome. They were going to watch Nathan for a year and decide if he should go on medication or if his tics were improving. Nathan helped educate his classmates and teachers on Tourette's Syndrome. He felt more comfortable now that people knew he couldn't control his tic, and were not making fun of him all the time. He became closer with classmates and made some good friends. Now, even when kids who did not know Nathan made fun of him, he didn't care because he had friends now, and he knew that the other kids were only making jokes because they did not understand. Nathan became strong with the support of his friends and family. He might not have control of his tics, but he had control of his life, and he wasn't going to let his tics or anyone else ruin his fun. This was a great story, and the book had a lot of good information.
About the Author: Holly L. Niner grew up in Newberg, New York. She is a Speech Therapist with a passion for books. She now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana with her husband, Keith, and her two children, Evan and Beth. She also wrote Mr. Worry: A Story About OCD, because her son has OCD and she wanted to have a book that would teach about OCD that would children and adults could read and learn to understand about OCD.
Genre: Special Needs
Theme/Skill: Informing readers about Tourette's Syndrome.
Grade Level: It is recommended for grades K-4 but it should be read by all ages. Everyone should be more informed on special needs.
Pre-reading Activity: Go around the room and have everyone tell one thing about themselves that they think is different then other people or extra special. Class discussion on how everyone is similar and different, but that everyone is special.
Post-reading Activity: Students should discuss what they learned about Nathan. How did they feel about the story? If they were friend's with Nathan would they understand his tics? Were all different. When people found out Nathan could not control his tics, they were more accepting of him.