Developmental Disabilities

Tourette Syndrome

Tourette Syndrome.


Tourettes is a disease that is common in children 9 to 13 years old. Some signs  can start as early as age 7.  Males are affected predominantly more often than females.

Tourette’s can cause facial tics, twitches, blinking, grimaces, shoulder shrugging or head or shoulder jerking. Repetitive throat clearing, sniffing or grunting sounds are some of the simple vocalizations.

Complex motor tics include a head twist and a shoulder shrug that appear to be done purposefully.  Some other symptoms are touching objects, jumping, twisting, hopping and bending.  Vocal tics include sniffing/snorting, grunting or barking.  More severe vocal tics are those that are articulated into words or phrases.  Some of the more acute cases result in self-harm such as punching oneself in the face or uttering swear words or repeating what others are saying. 

Tics come and go and vary in frequency and severity. Symptoms can sometimes be suppressed or camouflaged but those who suffer from Tourette’s find a build up of tension when tics are suppressed.

Environmental triggers can also make tics appear.

For severe cases a psychiatric evaluation and treatment may be needed. Drug therapy is available for those whose symptoms interfere with functioning. There is no one medication that is helpful to all people with TS, nor does any medication completely eliminate symptoms.

Tourette’s peaks in early teen years and symptoms improve in late teen years and early adulthood for the majority of sufferers.

Current Pediatric Diagnosis & Treatment Book