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Reaching Out by Understanding Tourette Syndrome

Updated on December 9, 2008

never let anyone stop you from chasing your dreams

The beauty about life is the feeling of belongingness. When we feel that we are a part of a group it just seems to make sense. Yet some people are born different from us, actually every single person is truly and uniquely different from each other. There are some people that make us happy, some make us sad, and still others annoy us. The funny thing is some people dress up in a way we just could not understand, others talk loud like they are all alone and still others do other things that would draw our attention to them. The first two things I mentioned could possibly be tolerable but when people curses you or jerks their shoulder at you how annoying could this be to you? If you meet these kind, what would you say and do? Can you dare tell them to cut off such misbehavior or to shut up? When a friend, a student or your own kid tries to attract your attention by jerking their head or making funny sounds and you tell them to stop it but they say they can't, what do you do? Putting your foot forward to that person's shoe, how would you feel?

What is Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is an inherited neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements or vocalizations called tics that usually begins during childhood. Only one person in a thousand has this condition.

This disorder was named after Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, the pioneering french neurologist who first described an 86-year old french noblewoman with such condition in 1885.

What are the symptoms?

Motor tics and/or vocal tics are the common signs and symptoms of this disorder.Tics are movements or sounds that occur unpredictably out of a background of normal activity, having the appearance of normal behavior gone wrong. It can be physical (motor) tics or vocal (phonic) tics or sometimes both. Some common motor tics are eye blinking, coughing, throat clearing, facial movements, shoulder jerking, and sniffing. Vocal tics are clearing of the throat, humming, sniffing, repeating other people's words(echolalia), or involuntary swearing (coprolalia).

This can be classified as simple or complex. Simple tics are sudden brief movements that involve only a limited number of muscle groups. They occur in single, isolated fashion and are often repetitive in nature. This can be eye blinking, facial gramacing or shoulder shrugging. Complex tics are distinct, coordinated patters of successive movements that consist of several muscle groups. This could include harming others, echolalia, jumping, coprolalia and touching others.

There are some people with such disorder that have disorders other than tics. Many people experience problems such as obsessive complusive behavior characterized by an intense need to act repeatedly. Some have attention hyperactivity disorder characterzied by the difficulty staying on task. Having other disorders other than tics makes it more complex.

Coping up with Stress

1. Get the kids involved in activities to help them get their tics milder and less frequent. Participating in sports, exercise or hobbies are great ways to focus mental and physical energy.

2. Help kids in helping others to develop their self-confidence and lessen self- consciousness about feeling different from others.

3. Embrace creativity by doing activities such as painting, writing, and music lessons. This can help the mind on other things.

4. Find support organizations that are involved in this disorder.

5. Kids should take control of themselves by researching about the disorder, bravely asking the doctors questions to be able to understand self and taking an active role in the treatment.


Though sometimes annoying or disturbing, but the majority of  these children with the disorder do not require medication. Knowing what it is and understanding the disorder is a way of educating. It is a part of the treatment. Therapies and support groups can greatly help since these can help kids talk about their problems and cope with stress better and learn relaxation techiniques. Explanation, reassuring, encouragement are often sufficient treatment. While individuals are sometimes able to suppress their tics for a period of time, doing so will result in a more bigger explosion of tics afterwards. Tics usually diminished when the person is relaxed. When tic symptoms are severe and can interfere with functioning it is important  to consult a  neurologist for the right medication.

Educational Setting

Children with tourette syndrome can function well in a regular setting. However, depending on its severity they should be placed in an educational setting that will best suit them. Severe ones could possibly interfere with social adjustment and academic performance. A tolerant and compassionate setting that encourages to work to their full potential could greatly be of help them cope up. Untimed testing could greatly help reduce stress. A lot of children with this disorder have succeed in life.


"Never let anyone or anything stop you from chasing your dreams."

Tourette Syndrome don't restrict children from doing activities. Most of the symptoms do not impair them especially when it is a simple one. They usually have normal life expectancy.They should be able to enjoy and participate in the same activities as their peers and not let the disorder interfere with their everyday lives.


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