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Do you support a young person with tics in a group or class setting?

Supporting young people with tics and Tourette’s is close to our heart here at Tictock Therapy. Therefore, we are proud to have designed a CPD Approved training course, to educate professionals in techniques that can support young people with tics in a group setting, and the classroom. While our course was originally designed with teaching staff in mind, we have had many professionals from a whole host of different backgrounds find the course useful. Despite the course name “tics in the classroom” anyone working with young people with tics/Tourette’s in a group setting will find our course informative.

The latest research in America shows that 1 in 50 people are believed to be affected by a tic disorder or Tourette’s in their lifetime. With the average class size being between 20-30+ in most schools, teaching staff will be supporting students with tics. Many teaching staff have no knowledge of tics until the day a student with tics is in their class, this can be frustrating for the professional as they don’t know how best to support the student, it can also be frustrating for students to have to explain their needs to every new teacher they meet. By learning about tics, co-occurring conditions, and support strategies staff will feel more confident when they undoubtedly find themselves supporting students with tics.

Our aim is to make the world a more inclusive place for people with tics.

Tics are an involuntary medical condition, and individuals with tics are protected under the equality act 2010, which means a person must not be discriminated against because of a disability.

Within the course, you will learn about tics, Tourette’s, and common co-occurring conditions. By gaining a rounded understanding of how these conditions can interact, you will be able to explore more comprehensive solutions. When someone has both tics/Tourette’s and ADHD/OCD for example, the symptoms of each condition can interact with the other. If one has OCD, it can cause tics to take on an obsessive-compulsive nature, such as needing a tic to feel just right or to be completed a certain number of times. It’s vital to have the understanding that when exploring support options that their co-occurring conditions are understood and supported to, in order to have the best outcome.

It is also important to note that although some people with Tourette’s can sometimes suppress tics, this is not a technique that they should be asked to use. Suppressing tics takes a lot of concentration and energy, if you are in a classroom and ask a student to start suppressing tics (“can you be quiet”, “stop moving in your seat”) then they are likely no longer paying attention to the lesson.

Imagine holding in a sneeze, and trying to concentrate, and produce work from the input you had just been given. A better alternative would be to offer options for movement breaks throughout the day/class so that the student can release some tics or energy as needed. Movement breaks could be accommodated by giving the student the option to leave class when needed, or by asking them to run errands.

By allowing students to take a break and release some tic energy throughout the day, we avoid causing an overload/meltdown later on. It is not uncommon for schools to report minimal tics, but for tics to be much worse at home. Some students may also unconsciously suppress tics in situations where they feel uncomfortable ticcing, this can lead to the same consequences as conscious suppression. People with tics should feel safe and comfortable releasing their tics when they need to, tics are not meant as disruptive behaviour.

Stigma and judgment are often felt by people with tics, in turn, this can cause anxiety, by drawing attention to tics in a group setting you may make anxiety worse and draw unwanted attention to the student. It is best to ask a student in private if they are comfortable talking about tics, and how they would like you to respond. Some students will ask you to ignore all tics, some will be happy talking about them and/or laughing at amusing tics.

Tics are often with a spectrum; therefore, everyone presents with tics differently, just because you have met one person with tics does not mean you know what works best for everyone with tics. There are many strategies and techniques to try, each will be better/worse for different individuals. It is about finding what works best in different situations, especially if there are contextual tics in the mix and having the young person involved with strategy decisions.

Our CPD course Tics in the classroom can be taken as a self-paced course or as group live half-day training. Whichever way you choose to study you will gain 3 CPD credits, a CPD certificate, access to a private Facebook group, and knowledge of how to support people with tics in a group setting.

Before you make any decisions, why not see what some of our past participants are saying.

“I have just finished the tic and tourettes in the classroom course. I just wanted to say wow. I am a social care worker and a parent of a little boy with tics, this is one of the best courses I have EVER attended. I will be running to my son s school today to recommend it. I am based in Ireland and there is no support here I am delighted to be able to offer this course to my son s school. Well done. This is of such high standard I am delighted I did it.

Lisa 22nd June 2022”

“This course is of huge benefit to not only teaching staff but to any person who would like to support child and young people with tourettes. The course is clear, informative, and easy to follow. It gives numerous helpful resources and fantastic strategies that can be used in a school or club setting. This course is a must for anyone working with Neurodivergent children.”

“This course is extremely beneficial to help deal with children with tics and tourettes within the classroom setting. It gives good advice and strategies to use and includes a range of downloadable resources which can be used within the classroom. I would fully recommend this course to schoolteachers who are either teaching such children or will have these children in the future.

Reuben 21st June 2022”

“I would highly recommend the course 'Tics in the Classroom CPD Course’. As a parent of a child with tics and working in the SEND department and nurture provision at my school, this has been beneficial in all my roles as a mother and a teaching assistant/teacher. It provides lots of information, but not too much that you are overwhelmed, and will definitely help you support a child with tics in the classroom. There are some simple, demonstrations that very effectively put you in the shoes of the child with tics and remind you just how challenging simple things can be for them.

Sam 15th May 2022

More information, reviews and course enrolment can be found here

Sarah x

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