Tourette Syndrome and Work Modification

People who struggle with tics and Tourette Syndrome, are not only children. Adults can have tics as well. Tics can present throughout adulthood in a small population of those with chronic tic disorders, such as Tourette Syndrome. As an adult with Tourette Syndrome, problems can arise in situations such as work, relationships and parenting. Adults with Tourette Syndrome can and majority do work in highly successful careers throughout their lives. However, work can be stressful and potentially bring some level of difficulties if not managed appropriately. There are many strategies to manage interference in these situations, as described below.

It is important to remember several things about the workplace and tics

  • The Rehab Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disability Act provide protection to those with any disability in the workplace and other community settings. Stay up to date with laws and legislation to make sure that one is not discriminated against qualified applicants or employees (1)
  • Find a work environment that is flexible and can make accommodations that are necessary to ensure safe and most efficient work space
  • Jobs can be stressful which can increase tics, so it is important to manage stress at work by:

o   Deep and diaphragmatic breathing can be helpful

o   Create a calming workspace

o   Allow rest breaks during high stress times (if applicable)

  • Don’t be afraid to seek a support system at work that can help or provide encouragement during high stress times
  • Follow up with one’s Comprehensive and Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT) provider regarding environmental modifications and functional behavioral analysts to best manage tics at work
  • Explore community resources through the Tourette Syndrome Association for workplace accommodations and training



(1)     Tourette Syndrome Association (2004). Adults have Tourette Syndrome Too. [E-book] pamphlet. Available through:

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…

Read all articles by Heather Simpson, OTR/L