Pittsburgh-area youth with disabilities share perspectives on navigating school, friendships and the future

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When it comes to getting to know people, 17-year-old Sammi Cooper has learned to stop thinking that someone won’t like her because she has Tourette syndrome.

“In the past, Tourette was always present in my mind when I was talking to someone new,” the Verona teen said. “I would be anxious that someone would not like me because of it. I think I’ve become a lot more confident in myself and not think about my Tourette until we’re closer and I feel comfortable disclosing it.”

Cooper isn’t alone in her disability or her journey of self-discovery and building confidence around exactly who she is.

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