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“RETHINKING TOURETTE SYNDROME” AT BARD COLLEGE ON OCTOBER 27 Program includes a screening of the documentary Twitch and Shout as well as a discussion with Lowell Handler, coauthor, narrator, and associate producer of the film

Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Office of Multicultural Affairs and American Studies Program at Bard presents the program “Rethinking Tourette Syndrome” on Thursday, October 27, at 7:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. Free and open to the public, the event includes a screening of the Emmy-nominated PBS documentary Twitch and Shout, followed by a discussion with the film’s narrator, coauthor, and associate producer, Lowell Handler. During the past weeks Yale University researchers have identified a possible gene for Tourette syndrome. Handler, a resident of the Hudson Valley and photography professor at Dutchess Community College, wrote the first personal account of living with Tourette, Twitch and Shout: A Touretter’s Tale. This memoir “offers readers an insightful account of the pain and triumph that one person experienced making peace with the limitations of his existence,” according to Elsa Brenner in the New York Times Book Review. In the book, Handler recounts his extensive travels in the United States and overseas with famed neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks in the late 1980s, when he assisted Sacks in documenting research on Tourette syndrome through photography, and became a not-always-agreeable sounding board and traveling companion. Their friendship is chronicled in the book, along with the effects of Prozac on Tourette, and the rewards and complications of coming to terms with a mysterious and ostracizing condition. Handler also tells of his testimony for the Food and Drug Administration on “orphan” drugs, helping to open up treatment options. A former Black Star contract photographer-journalist, Handler’s pictures have appeared in Life, Newsweek, Elle, U.S. News & World Report, Sunday Times Magazine (London), Hippocrates, New York Review of Books, New York Times, Boston Globe, and the Southern -more- Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report and Teaching Tolerance, as well as many international journals from Brazil to Japan. His appearances on Dateline NBC, The Phil Donahue Show, and national television programs in Canada and the Netherlands have helped increase awareness and understanding of Tourette syndrome. Other works by Handler have been published in the New York Observer, Health, and the American Psychological Association’s Contemporary Psychology. He was the technical consultant and set photographer on the film Niagara, Niagara starring Robin Tunney and Henry Thomas; the still photographer and adviser on The Tic Code, starring Gregory Hines; and the inspiration for, Maze, Rob Morrow’s directorial debut; and Jonathan Lethem’s touretting detective in Lethem’s novel Motherless Brooklyn. “This semester I am facilitating several opportunities for members of the Bard faculty to present their research and ideas about issues of human diversity and for community members to engage in those discussions in a more public forum,” says Geneva Foster, assistant dean of students and director of multicultural affairs. “Handler is a colleague of assistant professor of psychology Barbara Luka. I encourage community participation in examining differences in human ability and ask that participants take a few minutes after the event to complete a short survey about other discussions that they would like to have that encourage rethinking difference.” This event is the first in the series “Rethinking Difference beyond the Classroom” offered by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the American Studies Program. Additional programs are planned during the spring 2006 semester. The objective of the series includes promoting Bard College faculty research and encouraging community dialogue about issues of human diversity. For further information, call 845-758-7092 or e-mail # # # (10/20/05)

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This event was last updated on 10-29-2005