Into the mind of a Tourette’s person

published on 04 January 2021
Screen shot 2021 01 04 at 2.05.20 pm

One might think of Tourette’s syndrome as just a condition which 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, and inappropriate sexual activity. These various symptoms are found in a substantial percentage of individuals diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome.

An individual  with Tourette’s syndrome may find it difficult  at times to control themselves, which may result in  the sudden outburst as mentioned  above. What they do during this time depends on the person, but a lot of them show symptoms ranging in aggressive behavior during the outbreak, such as cursing, screaming and crying. However, in nonsevere cases, many of the symptoms presented  above wouldn’t apply to the person. Most of the members in the society with Tourette’s  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 various anatomical parts of the human brain.  locations in the human brain. One of which is known as  the ‘Basal Ganglia’ located around the middle of the brain, and it controls body movement and posture. 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 to be found 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. Several teachers  may believe that the delayed response would be caused by a 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 a Tourette’s patient is being immature. Even though these patients may have a 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 individuals 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 as they. 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” are important phrases that can help de-stress with relaxation amongst 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.

Written by Jason Yang

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