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Tourette's Disorder in Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Children with Tourette's disorder make sounds or movements that they can't control. These are called tics.

Some children blink their eyes a lot or twitch their nose. Others move their arms or legs a lot or stamp their feet. A child with verbal tics may grunt, shout, or clear his or her throat. In rare cases, a child uses bad words or gestures.

Tics usually begin between ages 2 and 8. They are often worst around age 12. Tics may go away on their own within a year. In some children, tics may become chronic, which means they last longer than a year.

Tics can last into adulthood. But in most children they slowly go away in the teen years.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Learn about the disorder. Share what you learn with your child's teachers and people who spend a lot of time with your child.
  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think your child is having a problem with his or her medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Make sure your child goes to all counselling sessions and follow-up appointments.
  • Do any homework or exercises that your child's therapist gives you.
  • Write down when the tics happen. Try to identify what might cause them. If you do this, you may be able to help your child avoid things that cause tics.
  • Make changes at home. For example, don't treat tics as bad behaviour. Give your child free time after tasks or chores. When tics are bad, stay calm and help your child relax.
  • Ask your child's teachers to make changes. For example, your child may need more time to take tests. Or it may help if your child sits in a more private place with few distractions. It might also help if your child can rest when needed or leave the classroom to deal with severe tics.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has a severe mood change or is talking about suicide.
  • Your child has a sudden change in behaviour.
  • It is hard to take care of yourself or your child.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child has symptoms that often get in the way of his or her daily activities.
  • Your child has new or different symptoms.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.