Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tourette Syndrome and the potential impact on education in Malaysia


Tourette Syndrome (TS) is difficult for some teachers to understand because every student has different symptoms, which can change, wax, and wane. Some teachers may not be well informed about strategies and techniques for recognizing the needs of students with TS, or the most effective teaching approach. Besides the tics, many common co-occurring conditions can be impairing, such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), handwriting difficulties, sensory integration or sensory processing disorders, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and social skills deficits.

Educators and families should be aware of signs that may point to underlying symptoms of the common conditions that co-occur with TS. It is important to recognize the signs so that the additional support in school can be provided for students with Tourette Syndrome or other Tic Disorders. The following are common indications that additional support may be necessary:

Difficulty attending or staying at school 
• A collaborative and positive working relationship with the school can assist in an honest discussion to determine why this may be occurring and then developing a proactive/positive plan to help.

Behavior issues at home or school 
• Focusing on when, where, and why behaviors are occurring will decrease the chance of making assumptions and punishing the child. The Tourette Association provides several resources geared toward addressing challenging behaviors at school and strategies for these difficulties.

Significant reluctance to completing work in school and/or homework 
• This could be a sign that the child has difficulties in the following areas: handwriting difficulties, problems with memory, processing delays, or difficulties with organization. It may also be due to fatigue, which can increase tics and symptoms of other disorders and make focusing more difficult. A meeting with appropriate school staff (such as the teacher, counselor, or others working with your child) to discuss why this is occurring can be helpful. An initial evaluation, or re-evaluation may be necessary to determine if specific skills deficits are the reason for this.

Dropping grades
 • It is common for students with tics and co-occurring conditions to receive good grades in elementary school and then experience a decline in the grades in middle and high school. An updated education evaluation/assessment will assist in determining if hidden symptoms may be responsible and assist in identifying appropriate supports.

Increase in tics, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive behaviors 
• This may be an indication that a meeting with school staff is needed to discuss any changes that may be increasing anxiety. Discussions should include difficulties with peers and specific teachers or support personnel.

Difficulty socializing with peers 
• Screen for social language deficits, as they are common difficulties for students with TS that can severely impact peer interactions and friendships. The use of social stories may not be effective because students with TS often know what to do and say, but are inconsistently able to perform as they know they should and are sometimes capable of doing.

Loss of interest in preferred activities 
• Consider the environment to determine if there is something or someone increasing anxiety. It may also be due to some obsessive-compulsive behaviors related to attempts to achieve perfection.

Retrieved from:

Further reading: Treatment for Tourette Syndrome in Malaysia

No comments:

Post a Comment