My Child has a Tourette Syndrome Diagnosis—What do I do?
For some children, a diagnosis of TS causes little difficulty; tics can remain relatively mild and may not even be noticed by others. A child may remain free of other conditions that can lead to struggles for children with TS. However, for many children, a diagnosis of TS can come with various challenges (see What to Expect from Tics Over Time). Tics may at times get in the way of academic or social tasks, or may lead to difficulties with peer relationships or low self esteem. Also, many children with tics have other psychological and/or learning difficulties, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, behavioral difficulties, rage attacks, learning disabilities and/or depression. As a parent, it can be useful to learn and prepare for all of these potential challenges. I recommend that parents of a children with TS take these four steps:
Join the mailing lists of TS-focused organizations such as the Tourette Syndrome Association or the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome (serves as a world-wide resource for interested families).
Learn about the various other potential difficulties that come with TS, so you can recognize if your child is showing any signs of disorders such as OCD or ADHD.
Stay aware of treatment options for tics and of treatment options for other disorders. For a description of psychological treatments for many of these disorders, please take a look at my Treatments Offered section, which describes research validated treatments for various difficulties.
Create a plan of how your will advocate for your child (see Helping my Child to Live with TS for pointers on this plan).