What are tics?
Tics are repetitive and involuntary movements or vocalizations such as blinking, nose twitching, throat clearing, or sniffing. You might have heard that tics are all about swearing or using inappropriate language, especially in Tourette Syndrome (TS). Science says that is wrong! In Tourette Syndrome most tics do not involve swearing at all.
What is Tourette Syndrome (TS)?
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurobiological brain difference—which means it is a neurodevelopmental condition—where tics are a symptom. Tourette Syndrome occurs when a child has had both movement and vocal tics for more than a year.
Will the tics stop by making my child more aware of them and by just saying “stop”?
No. Tics, by definition, are involuntary. Some children and teens may have some control over their tics, but not 24/7. And saying “stop!” or providing rewards and consequences will not be effective either. In fact, the more people talk about tics or point them out, the more likely the tics will get worse! Treating tics requires a highly specialized treatment plan. It also requires a therapist with highly specialized training in treating tics. A clinician who does more general forms of therapy will not be effective when it comes to reducing tics that are stressful for your child or teen.
What treatments are available if Tourette Syndrome is diagnosed?
If your child or teen wants to reduce specific tics, then there are options such as specialized behaviour therapy or medication. A scientifically-supported treatment called CBIT (Comprehensive Behavioural Intervention for Tics), done with a therapist trained in this technique, can help your child or teen learn techniques to lessen tics. At the Possibilities Clinic, we have clinicians trained in this approach.