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Tourette's – we're sorry

Should have thought about this one a bit more

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Regarding our ill-judged screensaver competition, we received this letter from Malcolm Worth:

I am a regular visitor to The Register site and was dismayed tonight by your challenge to create a Tourettes screensaver. Firstly your definition of Tourette Syndrome is incorrect, Tourette Syndrome (TS)is characterised by many varied, frequently changing involuntary motor and phonic tics. The swearing and verbal abuse to which you refer is known as coprolalia and it is that that often receives the media attention - but it is present in only a small minority of people with Tourette Syndrome. Like other tics of TS, it often only lasts for a short time, before being replaced by another.

The Motor and Vocal tics are involuntary - sufferers can do nothing about them. Many sufferers are aged between 9 and 18. I don't know your age but think back to your teenage years, can you imagine the hell that these kids go through at this time of their life without someone like yourself lampooning them and worse still asking your readers all over the world to do so also?

I have a 12 year old daughter who is a sufferer, her life until recently has been made a living hell by people who don't even know her making fun and pointing. There are some days when she tells me that she doesn't think that life is worth living. She is an intelligent and lively girl who has a rich and fulfilling life ahead of her providing she is allowed to live it without bigoted and ignorant comment in such a publication as yours. If Tourette sufferers were a racial minority, then you would not dream of making fun, so why do this ?

I am asking you to withdraw you screensaver challenge and make an immediate apology to the many Tourette sufferers who may come to your site.

It wasn't our intention to cause offence, but when we had our bright idea, we forgot the human element. We apologise to you and all of the other readers who wrote on this subject.

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