The purpose of the study was to determine the impact of Tourettte Syndrome and co-occurring conditions on school methods.
Data was taken from information reported by parents from the Natioanal Survey of Children’s Health. Children with Tourette Syndrome were compared with those who never had Tourette Syndrome on school measures
Tourette Syndrome severity and co-occurring conditions are associated with school challenges and educational service needs.
Awareness among health care providers, teachers and parents of the potential challenges related to both Tourette Syndrome and co-occurring conditions would help to support the child’s education.
Claussen, A.H.; Bitsko, R.H.; Holbrook, J.R.; Bloomfield, J.; Giordano, K.; (2018). Impact of Tourette Syndrome on School Measures in a Nationally Representative Sample. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 39(9) 335-342.
According to the Tourette Association of America, tics are involuntary, repetitive movement and vocalizations. They are the defining feature of a group of childhood-onset, neurodevelopmental conditions known collectively as Tic disorders and individually as Tourette Syndrome.
Tics are common in childhood. The estimated prevalence of Tourette Syndrome disorder range from 3 to 8 per, 1,000 in school-aged children. Males are more commonly affected than females. Some people may have tic-free periods of weeks to months.
There are three types:
Motor tics cause a movement including eye blinking, facial grimacing, jaw movements, and head bobbing
Vocal/phonic tics produce a sound including throat clearing, grunting, hooting, and shouting
Provisional tic disorders involve a person who experiences involuntary motor and/or verbal tics for one year.
Signs and Symptoms:
barking or yelping
repeating what someone else says
Co-Occurring Disorders Include:
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Obsessive -Compulsive Disorder
Social skills and deficits
Temperamental- it is worsened by anxiety, excitement and exhaustion.
Environmental- observing a gesture or sound in another person my result in an individual with a tic disorder making a similar sound.
Genetic- genetics and environmental factor influences tic symptoms.
Anxiety is one of the co-occurring disorders that affect autistic children. A study published by the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that autistic children had higher anxiety levels compared to neurotypical children. It is estimated that 40% of autistic teens display signs and symptoms of anxiety.
Why Autism and Anxiety?
There are many reasons anxiety affects autistic children in large numbers. Bill Nason, moderator of the Facebook page, Autism Discussion Pageand psychologist, explains that daily experiences that impact their nervous system including sensory, cognitive, social, and emotional vulnerabilities leave autistic children and teens with daily high levels of stress. He explains what comes naturally for neurotypicals, is hard work for them placing their nervous system on high alert even during its resting state. High levels of anxiety make take the form of mood swings, rigid and inflexible thinking and obsessive compulsive behavior.
What are the signs of anxiety?
Complains about feeling sick
Complains about headaches
Fidgets and spins
Worries about making a mistake
Difficulty in performing in exams
Is afraid of being placed in a new situation
Apprehensive of meeting new people
Displays difficulty in joining new groups
Avoids interacting with peers
Worried about being laughed at.
Types of Anxieties
Anxiety of uncertainty- fear of anything new and unfamiliar
Social anxiety- difficulty interacting with others during social events
Sensory overload- Becomes anxious in settings that present strong sensory stimulation
Generalized anxiety- non-specific ongoing pervasive anxiety
Strategies for Reducing Anxiety
Exercise or physical activity
Allow time to participate in a favorite activity
Self-stimulation can be used for calming purpose
Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and meditation