Strategies for School Success with Tourette’s/Tics

The start of the school year can be a stressful time for any student, but for children with Tourette’s or Tics, it can be particularly difficult.  Social anxiety, stress of testing and the business of school activities can create havoc for a child with tics.  During this time, you might see an increase in tics, aversive behaviors and failing grades.  There are multiple strategies to assist with minimizing difficulties at school. The below mentioned areas are some basic helpful strategies and programs to implement at school.  Please follow up with your Occupational Therapist for more specific strategies and details of the below mentioned suggestions.

  • Establish a 504 Plan/Individualized Education Program (IEP)- A specialty accommodation plan for school resources. Can help with establishing breaks, testing accommodations, classroom set-up, etc.
  • Talk to Teacher- Discuss with the child’s current limitations/restrictions. Come up with code words or specialized strategies to accommodate for your child during high tic times
  • Inform your child’s class- Peer to peer education can be particularly helpful and beneficial to minimize bullying and increase peer understanding of your child’s tics.   There are several useful videos, books and handouts on peer education available on the TSA website
  • Implement Stress Management- Stress can increase tics tremendously.  Having appropriate stress management program/strategies in place can be particularly helpful. Follow up with your physician or Occupational Therapist regarding stress management techniques that can individualized for your child

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About the Author


Heather Simpson, OTR/L

Heather Simpson graduated with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science with a minor in Early Education from the University of Florida in 2007. Following…

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