As Joshua works toward the goal of becoming a Bar Mitzvah in November 2019, he will honor the Jewish tradition of tzedakah by raising funds for the Tourette Association of America. This organization has special significance for Joshua, as he has been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome himself, and was selected as a 2019 Tourette Association Youth Ambassador. In this role, Joshua has visited Washington D.C. to educate lawmakers and the public about Tourette Syndrome (TS) and raise awareness about the impact of federal legislation on the health and well-being of people with TS. He continues to educate the community with accurate information about TS, share his personal story with members of his local community, and advocate for public policies and services for people affected by Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders.
An estimated 1 in 100 school-aged children in the United States has Tourette Syndrome or a related tic disorder, which causes them to make sudden uncontrollable movements and sounds called tics. About 50% of those with Tourette Syndrome go undiagnosed. With the issue of underdiagnoses -- many children, parents, teachers and even physicians don’t fully understand TS, which can lead to bullying, a lack of community support, an improper diagnosis, and a host of other issues that impair the quality of life for someone with TS. TS is a lifelong condition that affects all races, ethnicities, genders and ages. Joshua has completed a comprehensive training to help educate his peers and local community on how to promote understanding and social acceptance of TS and its symptoms through presentations at schools, clubs and community centers.