A Night Before Christmas
When Sophie Turner is on stage, nothing else matters.
All eyes are on her and it’s her time to shine.
Sophie will perform at A Night Before Christmas this weekend and she can’t wait to get out on stage.
From appearances, Sophie is just a regular 15-year-old. What makes her different— apart from being incredibly musically talented with an astounding voice— is she has Tourette syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and autism spectrum disorder.
“My tics are noises so when I am out in public I try to hold them in. People tell me to relax and let it out, but I don’t.”
Sophie’s mind is going a million miles an hour. She’s taking in everything around her, all the time. She’s developed ways to suppress ticks such as moving her body a certain way or mumbling.
If something triggers Sophie’s OCD, her Tourettes kicks in and her tics begin. The conditions are associated and complex, and each person with spectrum disorder has a different experience.
“OCD has the biggest effect on my life,” she says. Some days it can be debilitating for the homeschooled teenager. She likens
ticks to having the urge to cough or sneeze. You can’t ignore it.
Singing is a release from the battle that goes on in her head.
“If I focus on something, it goes away. When I am singing, it’s okay because it’s showtime. It gets rid of my Tourettes while I am up there.”
Does Sophie get nervous? “A little but it doesn’t matter, it’s all about faking it. Once I amout there I am a different personality.”
The anxiety will kick in the lead-up to the event, mum Sarah Julou says.
Sophie has a powerful voice similar to the likes of Alanis Morissette or Christina Aguilera.
It’s her second time performing at the Bethlehem Baptist Church event A Night Before Christmas. She sang All I
Want for Christmas last year and this year she’s singing Rip Tide and Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.
Sophie’s no stranger to the spotlight.
She was a regular on TV2 show What Now last year, Sophie Turner, 15, is performing at A Night Before Christmas. starring as the lead in regular skit Mysteryville. She played smart but bossy Izzy.
Sophie has participated in six major Tauranga Musical Theatre productions and more recently 16th Ave Theatre ( Alice in
Wonderland coming up in January) and is with Tanya Horo Agency. Her vocal coach is Scott Braid.
She has been been interviewed by Altogether Autism in a feature which highlights her plight.
Sarah and Sophie are involved in parent-run charity Mockingbird.
They hope to become ambassadors and educate people about OCD.
“There is very little support out there for people with OCD,” Sarah says. “Someone can present on the outside as completely ‘normal’ but on the inside, it’s a daily struggle.”
When I am singing, it’s okay because it’s showtime. It gets rid of my Tourettes while I amup there.’’
Sarah is the funding officer for Mockingbird, a local charity for parents with children with spectrum disorder, all neuro-diverse children.
Disorders may include autism, ADHD, fetal alcohol syndrome, Tourette syndrome or OCD. The idea is to provide an environment for children to “acquire social skills and enable natural growth and maturity without peer pressure”. They meet three times aweek.