Tourette syndrome - help at school

  • Try not to respond too much to tics as this can normalise them. However, often tics are humorous and it would be un-natural not to recognise this.
  • TS is not caused by bad parenting or abuse. When children are able to suppress their tics at school this may well lead to increased tics and behaviours at home.
  • It does not mean that school is OK and something is wrong at home. Home is where it is safe to let all your tics out. However, this does mean that often homework is especially hard.
  • It may be helpful to provide time and space for tics to be let out in a private, thus lessening the build-up of tension. Perhaps a ‘time out’ card would allow the student to go to the designated place without causing too much disruption if it becomes unbearable for them.
  • Try to avoid seating arrangements where tics will cause the greatest disruption, for example the middle of rows or near something breakable.
  • Sometimes sitting at the front of the class can improve attention but sometimes this makes the tics visible to everyone and so should be avoided.
  • Modify tasks or requirement where possible as some activities are much harder for students with TS. Especially handwriting and other activities requiring fine motor skills.
  • Distribute instructions rather than asking students to copy long instructions or homework.
  • Tics may make handwriting difficult so try not to mark the student down for poor handwriting.
  • Exams are stressful for all students and especially so for a child with TS. Consider special arrangements such as separate rooms or allowing rest breaks for exams.
  • As TS often worsens at the age of transition this can be especially difficult and may well require extra planning and support.

Info sourced from http://www.tourettes-action.org.uk/ (charity recommended by NHS Choices)

It makes a huge difference for me to know that there is an adult at my school who knows all about my condition and who I can talk to if I am worried or unwell.

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