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Who is Jaylen?
My name is Jaylen Arnold. I am ready to change the world through my challenge! I want to STOP bullying! I created this foundation at the tender age of 8 to help educate kids that bully other kids...especially disabled ones.
I am a disabled kid who suffers from Tourette's Syndrome (TS - a Neurological Disorder), Aspergers Syndrome (ASP - a broad spectrum Autism Disorder), and severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD is much more than just washing your hands or checking things over and over...believe me)!
I began symptoms of Tourette when I was 2 years old. The diagnosis came at age 3. The OCD followed by age 4, and the Asperger’s was diagnosed at age 8.
I am what some might call an alphabet kid. See look, here are all the letters behind my name: Jaylen Arnold, TS, OCD, ASP
God created me differently-abled!
Mom says I'm kind and loving. My dad says I'm really intelligent. IQ test scores said I was only a few points below genius. But I say, God gave me a special purpose and I know that if I try hard, I can do anything I want to do. One day, I decided I wanted to educate people about teasing and bullying! I set out a goal when I was 8 years old that I would one day be on Youtube and television spreading my message. I also set out a goal to see Oprah Winfrey and the President wearing my wristband. Thanks to all of you, so far, I've done so much more than I ever dreamed! Recently, I was featured in a segment for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a feature cover story for HIGHLIGHTS children's magazine, and featured in People magazine with actress Anne Hathaway. In the past, I was featured with Dr. Sanjay Gupta for two CNN specials called The Human Factor, and a documentary for the Discovery Health Network called Tourette's Uncovered. I was named Young Hero of Year for Philanthropy, received The American Spirit Award from Katie Couric and CBS National News, and recently was was honored with the highly esteemed World of Children Award. I have been featured on every network, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, HLN, and CNN. I will keep working hard and I don't plan to stop! When I grow up, I think I want to be a dentist or an actor.
I love all people and all kinds of things - unless someone is coughing and sick - in that case, I will wave & flap my hands uncontrollably because with my severe OCD, I'm really quite the germ-o-phobe. I just can't help it. I can actually feel the germs landing on my tongue if someone doesn't completely cover their cough or sneeze! Even if they are a quite a distance from me. If I can hear the cough, I got the wave going on!
They interrupt my daily living
I have complex Tourette's which means I have vocal "tics" and motor "tics" pretty severly. They interrupt my daily living and are quite troubling. If you don't know what "tics" are just hang around and you'll soon find out. (No they are not the bugs - ticks) he!he! I also often let out verbal squeals for no apparent reason.
There is no cure. Doctor's don't really know too much about this disorder. There are very few medicines available and the one's I've tried came with very bad side effects. I'm a little guy so my parents don't want to take a chance on me taking these medicines that can give me addiional problems...so they protect me naturally, the best they can. I just want the "tics" to stop. You control your body, my body controls me (and boy does it ever).
It's like a big sneeze
My parents have always protected my environment by sending me to a smaller school. At my school everyone is mostly accepting and loving to me. We are like a family. One day, I decided I wanted to go to a larger regular school. Boy, that was a mistake! My disorders got way worse with the stress. The doctors say my disorders cause me to have a lot of anxiety. I witnessed a lot of fighting and meanness. I don't like fighting. I was really scared for the other kids to see my "tics" and know that I was different. I was trying so hard to hold them in. I would go to the hall and try to get them out. Eventually, I couldn't hold them in. It's like a big sneeze...you can hold it for a few seconds, but then it just blows out really hard. BAM! I was soon "ticcing" all day long. The other kids were mocking and copying my tics.
Soon after, the teacher put a little sign on me that said I had a medical condition, Tourette Syndrome. The teacher thought she was helping me. My parents really didn't like that too much. It was embarrassing because the kids then knew I had something wrong. Before that, they thought my noises and movements were me being a class clown. I was okay with that, as long as they didn't know the truth! My condition got so bad that I began unintentionally hurting myself with my tics. I didn't mean to, but my stress and overstimulation was so bad that my "tics" got very hard and violent. You can see a video of me at that time at: www.YouTube.com/JaylensChallenge.
They love me for who I am
The muscles used to perform the tics were contracting very hard. The Dr. called those "violent tics". I actually began to cry at night because I was hurting so badly, and when my doctor saw that I was unintentionally bruising myself from the tics, she took me out of school. My parents kept me at home for a bit ~ we made a video for you to see on the videos page listed above. You see, when tics get that bad, it takes weeks or months for those tics to calm down. I had to decompress and become de-sensitized. I then returned to my old school. I love my school. Those kids don't bully or tease me. They love me for who I am and I want ALL kids to experience the same feeling. I am going to do my best to make that happen!
With YOUR help, we can all make a huge difference to a global problem