What You Need To Know About Your Child's Tourette Syndrome

Your child has been behaving strangely and after a doctor's visit, your worst fears have been confirmed: they have Tourette Syndrome. This problematic condition will make life difficult for you and your child, but it can be dealt with if you understand what you're getting into.  

What Tourette Syndrome Is

Tourette Syndrome is a neurological condition that causes people to exhibit motor tics over which they have no control. Simple tics are brief and repetitive motions, such as eye blinking and grimacing or vocalization, such as throat clearing.

Complex tics often involve moving the whole body while vocal tics can include words or even sentences. The "swearing" element of Tourette Syndrome is real, but only affects 15% of people with Tourette Syndrome. Often, the prevalence of these tics increases with an increase in anxiety.

When it Becomes Apparent

Tourette Syndrome can affect anyone, but it has been found to be more prevalent in boys. It rarely manifests itself at birth: most children who suffer from Tourette Syndrome show no symptoms until they are at least 5-7 years old.

At that point, they may begin exhibiting the wide range of tics that characterize the syndrome. Often, these symptoms become less severe as a person ages, but not always. Unfortunately, doctors have yet to pinpoint an exact cause for the condition.

How You Can Redirect

It is possible to redirect your child when they are suffering from Tourette tics. Sometimes simply talking to them will force them to pay attention to you and their tics may subside. Often parents have luck taking their children for a walk or getting them some exercise.

Unfortunately, that isn't enough to eliminate tics and your child may need to receive medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy to alleviate their symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy uses redirection and reinforcement to try to steer children away from their tics.

Sometimes this process works to ease symptoms in that it helps reset some of the neurological patterns that may cause Tourette Syndrome. Unfortunately, Tourette Syndrome has no cure.

Are Rage Attacks Connected to Tourette Syndrome?

For years, people have linked rage attacks and Tourette Syndrome due to the unpredictability of both. Rage attacks are those moments in a child's life when they fly into an inexplicable rage at the slightest provocation. However, science has never found a link between Tourette Syndrome and rage attacks.

That said, many children with Tourette Syndrome do show symptoms of severe anger and frustration due to their inability to control their tics. Soothe their frustration any way you can and try to calm them down.

This information should help guide you towards a proper parenting style for your child with Tourette Syndrome. However, if you're struggling to stay patient or can't find a method that works for you, don't be afraid to attend a parenting class (such as those offered by Pregnancy Resources) for people like you.