Changes at home or school for Tourette's disorder

Changes at home

There are many ways you can help your child with Tourette's disorder at home:

  • Don't treat tics as willful behavior. Although tics can appear to be "on purpose" and can cause you frustration, do not punish your child for having tics, and try not to show any frustration you may feel. Doing so may increase your child's anxiety and cause more tics. Remember that your child cannot control his or her tics.
  • Alternate household tasks with free time.
  • Notice when your child's tics get worse. Sometimes you may be able to find triggers and can help your child work through them or avoid them. However, because tics that are associated with Tourette's disorder come and go, it may be difficult to know exactly why they sometimes get worse. You can help reassure your child during these times by staying calm and helping him or her to relax.
  • Encourage your child to increase responsibilities at his or her own pace.

Changes at school

Teachers can help your child with Tourette's disorder at school if they:

  • Provide more time for your child to take written tests.
  • Allow your child to use a computer or to recite assignments rather than handwriting them if tics affect writing.
  • Provide a seat where there is little distraction and some privacy.
  • Allow for frequent rest periods when needed.
  • Allow your child to leave the room if he or she needs to move around or let the tics occur in private.
  • Set a good example for accepting your child. It is important for your child to have teachers who discourage teasing by responding quickly and firmly whenever it occurs.
  • Provide tutoring, learning laboratories, or special classes if needed.

Last Updated: September 2, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology

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