Assistance dog being trained to improve life of teenager with Tourette's syndrome

  • ITV News Meridian's Tom Savvides speaks to Ellie Bourner and her mother Elisa.

A teenager from Maidstone has been forced to delay her college education because of a lack of confidence linked to Tourette's syndrome.

Ellie Bourner's family have bought Jasper, a black Labrador puppy, to help her overcome her anxiety.

But they need to raise £10,000 to train Jasper into an assistance dog so they have started a fundraising campaign

Jasper on a walk Credit: ITV News Meridian

Ellie Bourner was due to start a course at Hadlow College in Tonbridge this year but until Jasper is fully trained, Ellie feels anxious about attending.

At the moment Ellie doesn't qualify for funding for an assistance dog, as Tourette's syndrome isn't one of the criteria.

Her mother Elisa Bourner said: "People just think Tourette's is saying funny words, swearing, they don't realise how debilitating it is.

"Ellie has leg tics where she falls to the floor and we get some negative comments sometimes.

"People think if Ellie is swearing or she's answering me back, that she's being rude.

"They don't understand that it's a tic".

Ellie Bourner with her mother Elisa Credit: ITV News Meridian

The NHS says Tourette's syndrome is a condition that causes a person to make involuntary sounds and movements called tics.

It usually starts during childhood, but the tics and other symptoms usually improve after several years and sometimes go away completely.

There's no cure for Tourette's syndrome but treatment can help manage symptoms.