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Understanding Tourette's Disorder and Educating Others

If your child has Tourette's disorder:

  • Learn about Tourette's disorder. Learning about Tourette's disorder will help your child and will help others understand your child. People who do not know about tics may think that a child who has Tourette's disorder is seeking attention or misbehaving or has a cold or allergy. Educating others will help them interact with your child in a positive way.
  • Learn ways to cope with Tourette's disorder. People who have Tourette's disorder cannot control their tics. 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.
  • Include other children. Parents often believe that not talking about Tourette's disorder protects both the child with Tourette's disorder and other children in the family. But talking with your family about Tourette's disorder tells your child that he or she is part of a family that cares, reinforces the idea that people who have Tourette's disorder can lead normal lives, and reduces the possibility that other children will have fears and concerns of their own. It is important to stress that Tourette's disorder is not contagious and that tics generally decrease as the child grows older. Remember that children will take their cues from adults on how to react to a child who has Tourette's disorder.
  • Learn about your child's educational rights. Most children who have Tourette's disorder can be included in regular classrooms. Laws provide for free early intervention services and for equal access to public education for children with Tourette's disorder. Talk with your school officials about what is best for your child.
  • Seek counseling. Parents of a child who has Tourette's disorder may feel overwhelmed by the amount of care their child needs or feel guilty because they think that they may have caused the tics by passing on a defective gene. Keep in mind that you may be having a harder time dealing with the tics than your child is. Talk with a health professional about any problems and concerns you have.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerKarin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology
Last RevisedJuly 26, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 26, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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