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Children with Tourette's syndrome given special showing of Harry Potter film

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7387.466/b (Published 01 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:466
  1. Roger Dobson
  1. Abergavenny

    Fourteen year old Matthew Sharp was longing to see the latest Harry Potter film. Almost all his school friends had seen it on the big screen, but Matthew has Tourette's syndrome, and his symptoms—sudden loud shouting and violent movements of his limbs several times a minute—make it impossible for him even to feed himself, let alone sit in an audience watching a film.

    Matthew had almost given up when he told his consultant at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Dr Isobel Heyman. Unknown to him, she searched for and found a cinema willing to hold a private showing of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for Matthew and other children with the syndrome.

    As a result, about 200 children with the condition were invited to watch the special showing of the film last week at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon, Surrey.


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    Living with Tourette's syndrome can be difficult. The involuntary jerky movements and uncontrollable noises may be embarrassing and disruptive. But most young people with Tourette's cope well, and their friends and family accept them for the way they are. Some young people ‘out grow’ their tics, and some are helped by medication,” said Dr Heyman.

    “Nothing is more annoying than not being able to join in with the hobbies or activities of their friends, and especially missing the current favourite films and shows,” said Dr Heyman.

    “When Matthew told me that he hadn't been able to see the new Harry Potter film because his tics were too noisy for him to go to the cinema, it seemed that Tourette's was really getting in the way.”

    Information about the Tourette Syndrome Association UK is accessible on: www.tsa.org.uk/

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