It is quite common for the behavioural issues related to TS to present prior to the tics, which can cause a lot of confusion and frustration for everyone involved.
The factors that appear to be of importance with regard to social adaptation include the seriousness of attentional problems, intelligence, the degree of family acceptance and support, and ego strength more than the severity of motor and vocal tics. It is important to be mindful that each child's coping skills differ. Some children with mild symptoms have a great deal of difficulty coping with the impact of their symptoms in social situations, while others with severe cases blithely go through life as if their symptoms were a complete non-issue. The capacity to cope seems to have little or nothing to do with the actual symptoms and much more to do with the individual personality, family and the nurturing — or less than nurturing — environment in which the child grows up. School can provide a safe place for children with TS to develop the coping skills that they will need as adults.
A major problem for parents and teachers is understanding which behaviours are beyond the control of the child with Tourettes and which can be — should be — controlled. If the family can learn to accept the member with Tourettes along with the symptoms — not despite them, it can provide the sense of security necessary for a healthy approach to the "outside world", promoting self-esteem and competency in school and peer group relationships.
Many children with Tourettes have school performance handicaps that require special intervention, and children with both Tourettes and ADHD, OCD or other associated conditions are especially vulnerable to long term educational impairment. Even a bright student with Tourettes who does not have specific learning disabilities, but has attentional problems will have their optimal functioning limited without special provisions being in place.
So you can see, that although TS does not affect one’s intellect, TS can greatly affect a child's learning ability. It is often these issues that pose more problems for the person than the tics of TS.
Teaching a child with TS will be in some cases challenging, but the rewards are great to help a child reach their potential. TS is a neurological condition, not a psychological one, and the range of intelligence in children with TS runs the full spectrum from dull to bright. The tics and other symptoms, however, can interfere with anyone's progress if not identified and help given.
TSAA Educational In-Service Podcast
The purpose of this podcast is to assist educators in the classroom setting to understand Tourette Syndrome and how it affects a child’s ability to learn as well as offer management strategies and classroom accommodations
Ways to use this Podcast:
Running time 39 minutes.
TSAA worked with the Federal Department of Education’s Office with Minister Dan Tehan to produce a podcast resource on Tourette Syndrome for the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data website.
This podcast is part of a series that highlights adjustments that can be made in the classroom to enable students with disability to access and participate in education on the same basis as their peers.
The NCCD website has information, resources and professional learning for educators.
What is the NCCD?
Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards), Australian students with disability must be able to access and participate in education on the same basis as their peers. To ensure this, students with disability may receive adjustments to access education, based on the professional judgement of teachers, in consultation with the student and/or their parents, guardians or carers.
The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) gives Australian schools, parents, guardians and carers, education authorities and the community information about the number of students with disability in schools and the adjustments they receive. The Australian Education Regulation 2013 requires all schools to report the data collected for the NCCD to the Australian Government on an annual basis.