Into the mind of a Tourette’s person

Into the mind of a Tourette’s person

You might think Tourette’s syndrome is just a condition that causes a person to make involuntary actions (tics). However, they may also act differently compared to other people. Some of the other symptoms may include: anxiety, learning disabilities (such as ADHD-  attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and OCD- obsessive-compulsive disorder), having sudden outbursts, antisocial behavior, inappropriate sexual activity, exhibitionism, aggressive behavior, discipline problems, sleep disturbances, and self-injurious behaviors are found in a substantial percentage of Tourette’s syndrome patients.

A person with Tourette’s syndromes may find it hard at times to control themselves which may cause the sudden outburst listed above. What they do during this time depends on the person but a lot of them show aggressive behavior during the outbreak, such as: cursing, screaming and crying. However, in mild cases, many of the events above wouldn’t apply to the patients. The good news is that many of the patients get more stable as they reach puberty and grow up so don’t worry too much if the patient isn’t grown up yet, there is still plenty of time for young children to recover.

Tourettes have been linked to different locations in the human brain. One of which is called the Basal ganglia(located around the middle of the brain): which controls body movement. Any difference in that part of the brain may cause the nerve cells to be damaged and affect the chemicals that carry signals between them. Though not confirmed yet, this is what researchers believe is in the brain of a Tourette’s patient. 

Students with Tourette’s have difficulty processing information given to them. A lot of these patients will require more time and effort to think of a response. A lot of teachers may believe that the delayed response may be deliberate misbehavior or a lack of knowledge but it is most likely just the student’s neurological difficulties. However, with practice, Tourettes victims are able to improve over time and adapt appropriately to their condition. 

Another unique behavior from Tourette’s patients is being immature. Even though these patients may have stronger academic ability, they may sometimes act younger than others in his/her age. This behavior makes it difficult for the child to get along with others as many may believe that these actions are deliberate. Once again, this is also most likely not their fault and should be seen as a component of the disability. 

As a parent or any type of guardian, you might be wondering how to discipline a child with Tourette’s property. A calm, well-structured classroom is best for children with Tourette’s. The guardian’s role is to build inhibitory control. They should provide a positive role model and supervision from adults. Children with Tourette’s tend to feel more confident and perform better under the supervision of a trustworthy adult. Instead of scolding them, build trust between each other by saying things like “I’ll help you through this” or “ don’t worry, I’ll be here for you” helps calm down Tourette’s patients. With time and practice, the children would feel safe with the guardian and learn how to calm down when needed and to understand others better.

By Jason Yang

Edited by Varshini Ganesh

Tourette SyndromeS

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