A Family’s Quest for Rhythm: Tourette, ADD, OCD and Challenging Behaviors by Kathy and Matt Giordano

A Family’s Quest for Rhythm: Tourette, ADD, OCD and Challenging Behaviors by Kathy and Matt Giordano

A few months back I saw on Facebook that a mom and her grown son had written a book on Tourette syndrome (TS). A Family’s Quest for Rhythm: Tourette, ADD, OCD and Challenging Behaviors by Kathy and Matt Giordano caught my eye immediately because I am the mom and grandmother to children with Tourette syndrome.

When their youngest child, Matthew, was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and  obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Kathy and Tony Giordano tried everything they could think of to alleviate Matt’s severe symptoms and significant behavior issues. But once they discovered their son’s undeniable talent for drumming, the Giordanos began to focus on Matt’s abilities instead of only on his difficulties. In this no-holds-barred memoir, the Giordanos discuss Matt’s intense childhood symptoms and the family’s feelings of isolation and blame.

A Family’s Quest for Rhythm: Living with Tourette, ADD, OCD and Challenging Behaviors has received very positive comments. Parents love the conversational style it is written in and the author’s honesty, courage, and willingness to share their difficult journey so others will have an easier route to navigate. There is even a chapter written by  Tony, Matthew’s father. Here are a few comments:

“This book provides a compelling and candid account of what it’s really like for families to live and deal with difficult behaviors due to neurological disorders. It will be helpful for families struggling to understand and cope with challenging symptoms; it provides practical tips on what to do and, importantly, what not to do; what is often helpful and what may instead be hurtful; and highlights the different ways the affected individual and family are impacted. It’s really nice to have this ‘un-sanitized’ book available for families feeling like they are the only ones in the world struggling with these problems.” ~ Cathy L. Budman, MD Director, Movement Disorders Program in Psychiatry Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Hofstra University School of Medicine

“Written like a conversation, this book welcomes you into a camaraderie of support and encouragement. Kathy and Matt Giordano share with raw honesty and courage the experiences shared by so many but spoken by so few. Their journey has been long and amazing and worth every step, because it has provided them the knowledge and expertise needed to guide others on their treks.” ~ Dr. Whitney H. Rapp Co-author of Teaching Everyone: An Introduction to Inclusive Education St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY

A Family’s Quest for Rhythm is a gripping personal account of one family’s struggle to live with a challenging child. The author’s fierce love for her son, who faces a variety of disabilities that contribute to his aggressive behaviors at home, seeps through the pores of this memoir. I particularly appreciate this mother’s honesty and willingness to share her not-so-finest parenting moments, and her lessons learned. In riveting detail she recalls her fears, her hopes, and her battle to keep herself and her family sane. Parents of children who don’t respond to the textbook parenting techniques will find company, inspiration, and practical advice from this mother and advocate. This compelling story, framed in humor and compassion, is a must-read for parents of children with challenging behaviors and the professionals who work with them.~ Dr. Helene Walisever 

Kathy  Giordano for testifying at the Tourette Syndrome Congressional BriefingKathy Giordano has supported families and educators for over 20 years with difficult issues related to TS. We congratulate Kathy  Giordano for testifying at the Tourette Syndrome Congressional Briefing. Ms. Giordano wrote on their Facebook page, “Testifying at the Tourette Syndrome Congressional Briefing was a wonderful experience. The room was standing room only! I have no doubts that everyone there had their eyes opened to how Tourette truly can impact families and that all doctors and educators MUST be knowledgeable about Tourette, related disorders and effective supports. Thanks to everyone who wrote or called their representatives encouraging them to attend.”

We thank Kathy and Matt Giordano for their guest post introducing their book, A Family’s Quest for Rhythm: Living with Tourette, ADD, OCD and Challenging Behaviors.

Guest Post by Kathy Giordano

A Family’s Quest for Rhythm:

Living with Tourette, ADD, OCD and Challenging Behaviors

*A description of the book:                 

A Family’s Quest for Rhythm is a down-to-earth resource for parents of children with extreme behavior issues who don’t respond to textbook parenting techniques.  They will find company, inspiration, and practical advice from this mother, father and adult child who have not only survived but have found success. This compelling story, framed in humor and compassion, is a must-read for parents of children with challenging behaviors AND the professionals who work with them.

*The “purpose” or reason the author wrote this book:

The purpose for writing this book is to provide a resource for parents who are in need of a conversation with other parents who have lived similar lives. In a forthright manner, this family shares what worked, what didn’t work, alternative ways to look at and manage difficult behaviors while letting families know that they are NOT alone.

*The target audience :

A Family’s Quest was written for the vast number of parents who feel isolated, frustrated and helpless as their child becomes more depressed and angry while symptoms intensify.

Additionally, “A Family’s Quest” has been used by college professors: “The powerful messages imbedded throughout “A Family’s Quest for Rhythm” can be summarized as follows;

(1) The reader comes away with a clear distinction between the symptoms of a neurological disorder and the character/personality of the person with the disorder;

(2) Secondly, the judgment of parents as the cause for the problems is not supportive;

(3)  Finally, and maybe mtost importantly for teachers/educators,  is the need to capitalize on a student’s strengths. Seeing a child for all they have to offer and nurturing that child.”

*Excerpts from A Family’s Quest for Rhythm: Living with Tourette, ADD, OCD and Challenging Behaviors: 

Kathy (Mother) 

A close friend of mine once described Matthew as being a beautiful and unique mobile. All mobiles have a delicate balance. If one section of a mobile becomes off-balanced, all of its parts are impacted. The mobile becomes twisted to the point of being non-functional. This was also true for Matthew.

A young boy once told me, ‘Don’t ever tell them what you like because they will either make you earn it or they will take it away’. This wise statement by a young boy nails it. What a shame! Instead of adults encouraging a child’s strengths as a balance to their difficulties, we make children earn them or we take them away.  I ignored advice that suggested I take his drums away when he was “bad” or “inappropriate”. Instead, we celebrated and nurtured his talents, because it just made sense. By doing this, people saw him not only as a youngster with Tourette syndrome, but also as a gifted drummer. Because other people recognized this, Matthew did as well.

Tony (Father) 

One of the most difficult times was when the rage episodes seemed to be coming one after another.  We walked on eggshells hoping that the somewhat calm times would last a bit longer; but things always fell apart again.   The constant breaking of furniture, kitchen chairs, windows and lamps was very difficult for me to experience.  I knew it was due to his symptoms but I couldn’t help being frustrated and saw it as an expression of his anger instead of symptoms.  I really had such a hard time with that!

 Matt  (Son) 

Too many people think that kids with disorders that involve behavior symptoms have a very low level of patience when in fact, the opposite is true.  People just don’t know how much we have to endure throughout the day; every day.  Even people that we love the most and who love us such as family, have no clue as to how difficult it really is.  Just living day after day, attending school or other activities alone takes a mountain of patience.  It can be very emotionally, mentally and physically taxing – all of which make our symptoms even worse.

Kathy and Matt Giordano authors of  A Family's Quest for Rhythm: Living with Tourette, ADD, OCD and Challenging Behaviors About the Authors: Kathy and Matt Giordano 

For more than 20 years, Kathy Giordano has been an advocate for parents of children with OCD, ADD, Spectrum, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), Tourette and other neurological disorders that include behavior difficulties at school and home.  As the Education Specialist for the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA), she presents nationally, provides support, information and strategies to parents and professionals as well as authors articles for the TSA website.

Matt Giordano is an acclaimed percussionist and national presenter. He is the owner and President of Drum Echoes, Inc., which he founded in 2003 to share his passion for percussion by facilitating drum circles and directing theater productions. 

He presents to school assemblies providing an anti-bully message and inspiration for students with difficulties. He has been featured in a NOVA special, “Musical Minds”. An award winning documentary about Matt, titled “75 Watts”, can be viewed on his website, www.drumechoes.org or on the Canadian Tourette Foundation website http://www.atrandom.ca/under Credits.

For more information, reviews and contact information:

Buy A Family’s Quest for Rhythm: Living with Tourette, ADD, OCD and Challenging Behaviors by Kathy and Matt Giordano Amazon.com  Amazon.ca


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This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.