My customer based is so varied which is an aspect of my job that I particularly enjoy. I supply to a variety of countries, from single units to hundreds, from parents to childminders and to children from all walks of life. Its this catagory more than any other that is so rewarding. Each child is unique with their own character, abilities and needs. These are the things I cater for, these are the things I customise for, these are the things I care about.

With all this in mind I have been asking ‘Experts by Experience’ for informative pieces for me to publish, or personal accounts or anything that they need a platform for.

The first in the series is about something I confess I knew little about. Thanks to the author I know a lot more now so lets quash some rumours and generalisations and get clued up:

Here is my list of things you should know about Tourettes Syndrome.

  • The diagnosis criteria is the presence of at least two motor tics and one vocal tic for at least 12 months.  These tics can not be explained by any other condition.  Tics should appear before age 18, happen multiple times a day with no longer than 3 months without tics.


  • Vocal tics do not have to be words, they can be any sound at all.  Common vocal tics are throat clearing, sniffing and whistling.


  • There are simple motor tics such as rapid eye blinking, small facial movements, shrugging, wrinkling nose.  There are also complex motor tics that appear more intentional and consist of a series of movements, for example touching or smelling people or objects, biting themselves, jumping or spinning.


  • The most well known symptom of Tourettes is swearing (Coprolalia).  This is generally due to the sensationalist way the media portrays Tourettes.  In reality, less than 10% of people with Tourettes have this symptom.


  • Tics wax and wane, over time and the tics themselves change.  There will be periods when the tics are barely noticeable for some people and other times when they are extremely prominent.  This is part of the condition.  It does not mean the person makes up tics, changes tics deliberately or is cured.


  • Tics can be suppressed for short periods of time, this does not mean the person can control their tics indefinitely.  Suppressing tics is extremely exhausting, takes concentration away from other tasks and they can only be suppressed for a short time.  As a result there is often an explosion of tics once they stop suppressing which can be extremely distressing.


  • Obscene or personal comments do not mean that is what the person thinks or wants to say,  in fact a tic will often come out because a person is desperately trying notto say something inappropriate.  The brain misses out the “don’t say ***” it goes straight to the word trying to be suppressed and blurts it out.


  • Laughing with someone about their tics is NOT the same as treating the whole condition as a joke. Many people with Tourettes don’t mind if you laugh at a funny tic but take offence if you joke about Tourettes in general.  Using Tourettes as a joke not only means it is not taken seriously, it also continues to perpetuate inaccurate stereotypes that Tourettes Awareness is trying to move away from.


  • Tourettes is a neurological condition, this means the person is born with it due to the way their brain developed.  It is not caused by bad parenting or exposing children to bad language.  Ignoring swearing tics is not encouraging your child to swear.


  • Tourettes rarely comes alone.  Many people with Tourettes also have another condition such as OCD, ADHD or Autism, or a combination of these.


  • However deliberate a motor tic looks it is not done through choice.  A vocal tic does not have to be random or sudden, a vocal tic can be said in context and sound intentional.  Regardless of how a tic looks or sounds they are not deliberate and are just as distressing to the person with Tourettes.


  • If you know someone with Tourettes that is one person.  Like most neurological conditions there is a huge variation in the way and severity it manifests and no two people will experience it the same.

Many many thanks for sharing this info Tourette Tales.

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