Understanding Tourette syndrome
Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by repeated involuntary behaviours known as ‘tics’. Motor tics can include everything from eye blinking or grimacing to head jerking or foot stomping, while vocal tics may display as throat clearing, making clicking sounds, repeated sniffing, yelping, or shouting.
In rare cases, people with Tourette syndrome might have a tic that makes them harm themselves, such as head banging. Prior to diagnosis of Tourette syndrome, both motor and phonic tics must be consistently present for a period of 12 months.
Facts about Tourette syndrome
- Recent research suggests as many as one in 200 people have Tourette syndrome. The current prevalence rate in children is one in 100.
- The symptoms generally appear before the individual is 18 years old.
- Males are more often affected than females.
- Although Tourette syndrome is generally lifelong and chronic, it is not degenerative. In a few cases, complete remission occurs after adolescence.
What are the symptoms of Tourette syndrome?
Symptoms include rapid, repetitive and involuntary muscle movements and vocalisations called ‘tics’, which are classified as simple or complex.
Simple tics involve sudden, brief movement within a limited number of muscle groups. These occur in a single and isolated fashion and are often repetitive.
Complex tics involve distinct, co-ordinated patterns of movements which involve several muscle groups. These may include jumping, smelling objects, touching the nose, other people etc.
Typically, tics increase as a result of tension or stress, and decrease with relaxation or concentration.
Some of the other disorders that may be experienced by people with Tourette syndrome include:
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)
How can CPL help?
As Tourettes syndrome is generally diagnosed in childhood, our early intervention services can help support you and your family learn how to best support your child and develop strategies for skill development.
Although there is no cure for Tourette's, there are treatments that make it more manageable. Our therapists can assess your needs to come up with an approach that helps you chase the best in life.
At CPL, we're passionate about supporting individuals to gain paid employment. We have a range of disability employment and training pathways that are supportive, practical and designed to help you reach your career goals.