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What do I need to know about caring for someone with Tourette syndrome?

To care for someone with Tourette syndrome, you should understand that they are unable to control their muscle tics and vocal tics. People with the disorder may experience anxiety and have low self-esteem. Children often have trouble learning. Reach out and offer support, and learn about the condition. If your child has Tourette syndrome, talk to your child's teachers and others your child is in contact with.

Caring for a child with Tourette syndrome (TS) includes being aware of how TS can affect a child’s experience at school. For example, some tics make it difficult to read or write. Or, a child might get distracted by tics or trying to not have a tic. In addition, because many people do not understand TS, children are sometimes teased, bullied, or rejected by other kids.

However, with some planning, children with TS can have a positive, successful school experience. Generally, children with TS have the same intelligence range as other children,  but problems with tics (often combined with attention deficits and other learning difficulties) can mean that children with TS will need special education assistance. Examples of this type of assistance might include different seating arrangements, additional time for testing, or computer accommodations for children who have problems with writing.

Further, children with TS and related conditions are often victims of bullying by their peers. These children might be more of a target because their tics, obsessions, compulsions or hyperactivity single them out from their peers.  Those with more severe tics are at greater risk for being bullied. Among children with tics, bullying has been associated with loneliness and anxiety.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.