Could I Have ASL Tourette’s Syndrome

Tourette’s Syndrome:

…disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic…Tourette’s was once considered a rare and bizarre syndrome, most often associated with the exclamation of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks (coprolalia), but this symptom is present in only a small minority of people with Tourette’s.

So yesterday I’m signing with a Deaf friend and he was showing me some new vocabulary. As I’m trying to observe, absorb, learn, and repeat back to him, I accidentally signed to him a common sign I’d venture to say all Hearing people know as well.

I flipped him the bird.

As soon as I realized it, I apologized and we both laughed. He knows I’m learning and it was a total mistake.  And this isn’t the first time I’ve done this. Signing with another Deaf friend I was trying to make one particular sign but instead signed something quite vulgar.

Both have been very innocent and my friends are quite forgiving and think it’s hilarious. If there is such a thing, I think I’m developing ASL Tourette’s Syndrome.


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  • J.A.J

    Okay, let me get one thing straight with you. There really isn’t any syndrome that resembles that. If a deaf person has tourette’s it means A DEAF PERSON HAS TOURETTE’s! And they aren’t any different than hearing people with Tourette’s. I have Tourette Syndrome and I HATE that everybody thinks Tourette’s is all about swearing! It isn’t! Deaf people can very well have Tourette’s and have Coprolalia(which is the actual term for when people with tourette’s involuntarily swear.) or Copropraxia. Oh, and by the way, you can’t DEVELOP Tourette’s, it is with you from birth, even if you don’t display symptoms right away. And if you are over 18 you can never be diagnosed with tourette syndrome, because you have to display both Motor and Vocal tics in order to be diagnosed. And both of these tics need to show before age 18!

    • Olivia Henninger

      Actually, before the age of 21. My tics didn’t show up until I was 20 years old. The fact that most doctors think that you have to be a minor to be diagnosed with Tourette’s basically led me to be treated like shit and abused by doctors and I lost my scholarship because I was taken off all of my ADHD medications for two months since my tics were thought to be a med reaction.

  • Olivia Henninger

    More likely, you are just accidently making the wrong signs because you are a newbie. If you felt an actually irresistible urge to make the signs at random times, then maybe you might have something to talk about.