Did you know that Tourette’s Syndrome isn’t just tics?
If someone tells you that they or their child has Tourette’s Syndrome but you’re confused as you haven’t *seen* them tic or present in a way media portrays it, this doesn’t mean this person isn’t fighting with them all day long.
Some individuals “tics” are really mild and you wouldn’t know that they are even ticcing, you can’t see the pain and discomfort that comes before a movement (tic) and you can’t see all the other elements that are listed below, that often come along side having a tic disorder.
Some individuals “tics” can be suppressed around others so you may not “see” them tic but whilst they’re hiding their tics they’re likely feeling tense or even in pain. (Try not blinking for the whole time you’re with a friend next time)
A few parents have told me over the last few weeks that they don’t tell friends about their child’s diagnosis due to when they have shared it, they have been dismissed, put down, told they are making it up etc.
With this in mind please educate yourself today so you can be more understanding in the future.
So despite Tourette’s being as common as Autism, and there being many provisions and training available for autism there is still very limited training and understanding for Tourette’s.
Below is some common symptoms and information on how Tourette’s (yes a tic disorder) can manifest.
• Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), a disorder which has the misconception of being specific to Autism and which may be related to "stimming"--something that even neurotypical individuals are known to do. It's also confusing for many when there are tics which appear similar or the same as what are commonly thought of as "stims" such as toe walking or hand flapping.
• OCD (which is seen up to 80% of the time according to up-to-date research). This OCD is often primarily obsessive and as a result there is often rigidity, obsessive interests (This obsessing about topics means that they often speak in one-sided conversations about that specific thing that they are obsessed about for hours or days or weeks or even years), the "Photographic Memory of Language", the "Obsessive Sense of Justice", intrusive thoughts and images, repetitive behaviors, a need for things to be "just right", severe seperation anxiety, hoarding, skin picking or hair pulling, body image issues, religious obsessions and more.
• Social and Emotional Immaturity which translates to about a third of their age less--or, the manifestation of comorbidities that can create the appearance of social and emotional immaturity. Yet not often with adults or younger children. Most often this is seen during interactions with their peers.
• Disinhibition and Impulsivity which results in social gaffs; if it's in their head it's going to come out of their mouth! Read more on disinhibition here
• Social Communication Disorder (SCD) which affects the person's understanding of stories, jokes, social interactions and knowing what is socially appropriate. There has also been repeated research which shows that those with Tourette Syndrome can have deeply impacting issues involving "Theory of Mind" or the ability to understand their own emotions or the emotions of others which, combined with the symptoms from other comorbidities such as ADHD and OCD lead to...
…Social Skills Deficits
• Specific Learning Disabilities such as Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia which can be seen even with those who have extremely high IQs, and yet are little understood. The result is often complete work refusal which is frequently misdiagnosed as "ODD" or "PDA".
• Rages and Meltdowns, which are one of the most common reasons for families of those with TS to seek clinical support.
• Lack of Eye Contact due to social anxiety, ADHD or Central Auditory Processing Disorder.
There are so many factors to Tourette’s!