Living In Haylee’s World Living In Haylee’s World
    BY ALYSSA FISHER The first day of freshman year is especially nerve wrecking; it’s a gigantic leap from the small pond of... Living In Haylee’s World


Freshman Haylee Kalick feels out of synch with the rest of the world on a daily basis. Kalick has made it her mission to inform others of Tourettes, ADHD, and OCD. Photo Credit ALEXANDRA MADAR



The first day of freshman year is especially nerve wrecking; it’s a gigantic leap from the small pond of middle school to the larger, more intimidating ocean of high school. Despite the adversity she has to overcome daily, freshman Haylee Kalick still walked into CCHS on August 23, 2010 with confidence, ready to inspire the world. Living with Tourettes Syndrome, OCD, and ADHD, Haylee certainly doesn’t have it easy, and it is her mission to make others aware of what she – and many others – go through. 

During her early years, Kalick didn’t suffer any symptoms; she wasn’t even aware that she had a disorder. However, upon entering the sixth grade, Kalick began exhibiting some strange movements that she couldn’t control. Her parents immediately took her to the doctor, where she was diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome. Even though Tourettes is an inherited disorder, Kalick and her family still aren’t sure who had it before her. They didn’t know a thing about Tourettes before her diagnosis. 

“When I was first diagnosed, my tics were really bad,” Kalick said. “I didn’t know how to control them.”

Tourettes Syndrome is a neurological disorder that is categorized by “tics”, or uncontrollable movements and sounds. The severity of the tics depends on each specific case. Some of these tics are set off by an urge or sensation in the affected muscle group, called a premonitory urge. Simple motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements that include eye blinking and other vision irregularities, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head or shoulder jerking.  Simple vocalizations might include repetitive throat clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds, while complex tics are distinct, synchronized patterns of movements that involve several muscle groups, such as facial grimacing combined with a head twist and a shoulder shrug. Other complex motor tics may consist of touching objects, hopping, jumping, bending, or twisting. Perhaps the most dramatic and disabling tics include motor movements that result in self-harm, such as punching oneself in the face or vocal tics including coprolalia, the uttering of swear words, or echolalia, the repeating the words or phrases of others.   

“The biggest misunderstanding is that people go around swearing and screaming and yelling,” Weston psychologist Jonathan Hoffman said. “Fortunately, those kinds of cases are rare; less than 15 percent of people have the kind of symptoms you see on TV.”   

According to her symptoms, Kalick has a more difficult case. Even though she has been dealing with Tourettes for a while, her symptoms are still persistent in her life and are difficult to handle. She has vocal tics where she gets impulses to scream and say odd phrases, such as “Why did the cow go moo?” In addition she gets physical tics that can become severe enough for her to require a wheelchair; she might begin to hit herself or jerk her legs until they lock. 

Even with training and techniques, the tics are still challenging and vexing to handle. Kalick practices HRT, or Habit Reversal Training in order to essentially trick the tic with competing responses. Usually the competing response is opposite to that of the tic and is something that can be carried out for longer than just a few minutes and is less noticeable to others. 

“It does work…when I actually do it,” Kalick said. “It’s so hard for me. You have to really focus, and it gets frustrating.”

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), tics are often worse when excited or anxious, but better during calm, focused activities. This is true for Kalick; her symptoms are less intense when she’s at her house. It is easier for her to cope with the tics when she’s in her own environment. When she’s out of her element, the tics tend to be more prevalent, making normal activities, such as going to school, a challenge. 

In most cases, Tourettes is accompanied by other disorders, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), difficulties with impulse control, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and various learning disabilities and sleep disorders. As well as having Tourettes, Kalick has a combination of ADHD and OCD, and they don’t particularly mix well together. 

“They all roll into one big monster,” Kalick said. “Sometimes they take over, and I usually end up doing something that I don’t want to do.”

Besides just dealing with her tics and other symptoms at school, Kalick has to inform her classmates about her condition. In essence, she has to teach them all about Tourettes so they know what’s going on. Usually they understand, but some can be quick to forget. 

“It’s difficult for some students to understand exactly how hard it is for me,” Kalick said.

This is why it is Kalick’s family’s mission is to educate others on the combined conditions of Tourettes Syndrome, OCD, and ADHD. To enlighten others about her life and to raise awareness for Tourettes, they started a Facebook group called Haylee’s World. One of the main goals of the page is to provide support and resource links for other children and families who are in the same situation. People from all over the country have written about their own experiences, asked questions, and commented just to tell Kalick how strong she is.

The page is dedicated to tolerance and enlightening people on exactly what Tourettes is. Various inspirational videos have been posted to encourage acceptance of those who might be different. They leave the audience inspired, better informed, and reflective on their own lives. 

Occasionally, Kalick gives members updates on her progress in managing her condition. Her positive attitude radiates off the page, and her willingness to help others going through the same experience is evident. She doesn’t want to be considered different from anyone else, and she wishes to be treated with respect. Her messages are full of encouragement for those who are having trouble coping with their disorders.  

“My Tourettes truly makes me a stronger and better person,” Kalick said