Wed, Oct 10, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Line stickers aim to raise awareness of Tourette’s

By Lee Jung-ping and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Hsueh Chang-wei on Monday holds a printout of a set of Line stickers launched to raise awareness about Tourette’s syndrome.

Photo: Lee Jung-ping, Taipei Times

Social enterprise We Tic on Monday released a set of animated stickers for the Line messaging app to raise awareness about Tourette’s syndrome in children.

Landseed Hospital pediatrician Hsueh Chang-wei (薛常威), who also manages the enterprise, said We Tic was established in June to help families struggling with the neurological disorder.

The enterprise is not a foundation and does not accept donations, he said, adding that it needs to earn revenue to stay afloat.

About one in 200 children in Taiwan have Tourette’s — a chronic disorder that develops in childhood, with symptoms waxing and waning throughout the patient’s life — he said.

The condition is characterized by involuntary tics, which might cause difficulty and frustration for people when interacting with others, he said.

The involuntary movements include shrugging, blinking, trembling and erratic movements, he said.

The enterprise drew inspiration from these movements and other characteristics associated with the condition to create the 24 animated stickers, he said.

For example, one of the stickers reads: “Do not feed,” as children with Tourette’s cannot consume certain foods, such as caffeinated drinks and chocolate, Hsueh said.

Another sticker reads: “Move together,” as children with Tourette’s are energetic and love to move around, he said.

Hopefully the stickers will help overcome the stereotypes and discrimination against people with the condition, he added.

The enterprise is also developing masks that muffle involuntary sounds and is visiting schools to talk to teachers and students about Tourette’s, Hsueh said, adding that he hopes the enterprise’s successes will inspire similar ventures around the world.

We Tic’s stickers were inspired by stickers created for the Line messaging app from the drawings of a 10-year-old girl who died of heart disease last month, which have become the app’s best-selling user-created stickers, he said.

After Chi-chi (綺綺), who was born with congenital heart disease, passed away during surgery, her parents submitted her drawings of dinosaurs to be used as stickers.

They said they would donate the earnings from their sales to the Cardiac Children’s Foundation Taiwan.

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