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ERIC Number: EJ1002453
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1784
Tourette Syndrome in the Classroom
Coffman, Amanda
Educational Leadership, v70 n2 p46-49 Oct 2012
Tourette syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder believed to be genetic. The most visible symptom is the presence of tics. These involuntary movements or sounds can range from simple (sniffing, throat clearing, blinking) to complex (words or phrases, hopping, body contortions). They may be frequent for a few weeks, then fade away almost completely before reappearing. Children usually develop Tourette syndrome between the ages of 5 and 9, although there are cases in the early childhood population and some children do not manifest symptoms until adolescence. Experts currently believe that Tourette syndrome appears in at least 3 in every 1,000 school-age children. It is approximately three times as common in boys as in girls. If this disorder is so prevalent, why aren't educators better informed about it? In part, it is because Tourette syndrome carries a stigma, and many families who have received a diagnosis don't talk about it with schools. In addition, because the symptoms are always changing, it is very difficult to diagnose, and many children wait years to get a proper diagnosis, if they ever do. It's vital to view students with Tourette syndrome as children with a neurologic difference. If educators view the child as the class clown, someone lacking social skills, or a poor reader, then their responses are going to be inconsistent with the truth of the situation and are not going to be helpful. What educators can do? The author suggests the following: (1) Purposefully ignore tics; (2) Arrange the room; (3) Make accommodations they can live with; (4) Increase wait time; decrease prompts; and (5) Be open with families. The most important thing to keep in mind when working with students with Tourette syndrome is that the behaviors educators are seeing are symptoms of a neurologic condition. If they view the child as "having" a problem rather than "being" a problem, they are more likely to arrive at solutions that make their classroom a successful learning environment for all students. (Contains 1 endnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A