Growing up, Duncan Whitcombe had never met anyone else with Tourette Syndrome. Diagnosed at the age of 10, he had no one to turn to, no one who could understand what it was like to be compelled to tic.
Today, he has his son.
Duncan’s little boy Bailey also has the condition, which for him manifests in a series of grunting sounds, plus throat clearing and fidgeting movements.
“When we first thought that Bailey had Tourette I was in denial … because I didn’t want him to go through some of the negative things I went through,” Duncan told SBS’s The Feed.
The young boy admits his condition frustrates him sometimes and that people can be unsympathetic and cruel, but says his special connection with his Dad helps him to feel comfortable with who he is.
“We both understand each other,” Bailey said. “It’s a like a tiny puzzle that only needs two pieces.”
The primary school student is typical of most Tourette sufferers in that he has also received a number of associated diagnoses.
He is one of the 85 per cent to also have ADHD, for example, and also has anxiety, OCD and high functioning Autism Spectrum disorder.
But there are benefits to having the condition, too. Both Bailey and Duncan have a heightened sense of smell, and Duncan has a semi-Eidetic memory, which means he can remember something from every single day of his life since he was 18 months old.