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Signs of Tourette Syndrome

What the signs of Tourette syndrome are
People with Tourette syndrome makes sounds or move in ways they can't control. So the signs are pretty easy to notice. But watch out for early warning signs that your child has this syndrome.

There are almost always signs of Tourette syndrome before age 21. The first signs are usually between ages 5 and 11.

Early signs

  • Simple motor tics in the face. Like blinking their eyes over and over again. Or twitching their nose.

Later signs

  • More complicated motor tics. Like jumping or stamping their feet.

You might notice that your child "tics" more at certain times, or at certain places. Often, children try hardest to hide their tics at school or other public places. But they may "tic" a lot at home, where they feel safest.

There is no cure for Tourette syndrome. But the tics often get better as the person gets older. The tics don't usually go away completely, for the rest of the person's life. Sometimes they go away for a few months at a time, and come back when the person has more stress in his life.

Some people with Tourette syndrome can learn to control their tics a little bit. They may be able to stop themselves from having tics when they don't want to have them, like in a classroom or at a meeting. But they can't stop the tics completely. And the tics might be worse when they finally do have them. It's like trying to stop yourself from sneezing. You might be able to stop yourself from sneezing for a few minutes, during a speech or a concert, but in the end you'll still need to sneeze.

How to find out if your child has Tourette syndrome
Your doctor will be able to see if your child does by asking questions and watching your child. So take your child to a doctor. Bring notes on what and how often he does these things.

The doctor will ask you some questions:

  • What your child is doing. The doctor will also watch your child. But remember, your child may try hard not to show his tics in the doctor's office.
  • If anyone else in your family has Tourette syndrome. (Often adults have forgotten they had tics as a child, or they are embarrassed to tell. So you may not know if anyone in your family had Tourette syndrome.)

Your doctor might do tests on your child to rule out other problems:

  • MRI
  • A CT
  • EEG

Deafness does not cause Tourette syndrome! If your child is getting teased or having trouble in school, and you think tics might be part of the problem, keep trying until you get help for your child!

Next: How to help your child

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