Parkersburg boy travels to D.C. for Youth Advocacy Day
PARKERSBURG — A Parkersburg youth Wednesday participated in the virtual Youth Advocacy Day to advocate on Capitol Hill for increased awareness of Tourette Syndrome and similar disorders.
Jason Skidmore, 12, was the first Tourette Association’s Youth Ambassador from West Virginia. He also participated in Youth Advocacy Day last year in Washington, D.C.
“Last year I attended TS Advocacy Day for the first time. It was my first time meeting anyone else who has Tourette,” he said. “While I was there I was informed that I was the first person with TS from West Virginia to attend this event in its history. I knew then I wanted to be the first Youth Ambassador from West Virginia and bring more education, resources and support home to our state, because currently we have none of those things at the state level.”
Skidmore completed a training program for Ambassadors on speaking about the disorder. About 1 in 100 school-aged children in the United States has TS or a related Tic Disorder, the wide range of symptoms that include both motor and vocal tics that can lead to bullying, isolation and life-long learning or emotional issues.
Skidmore plans to use the knowledge and training to help others by starting a chapter and support group in West Virginia. His goal is to share his presentation in all 55 counties by the time he graduates high school.
The Youth Ambassador program was started in 2002 and has grown to about 500 teens. More information on Tourette and tic disorders is available at 1- 888-4-TOURET, tourette.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.