Tourette Syndrome and Challenging Behaviors in School

Those affected by Tourette syndrome (TS) face a unique set of difficulties at school. In addition to facing the challenges with the motor or vocal tics themselves, the co-occurring conditions that are often associated can make the school environment very challenging.  Often times, students with TS and their families report that they have difficulty with:School Kids

  • oppositional behaviors
  • not focusing
  • poor emotional regulation (easily angered or saddened)
  • being bullied or being a bully themselves
  • a sudden decline in their grades

Just like in relation to tics, school behaviors can wax and wane. For many educators and parents, it can be hard to determine whether or not the behaviors or a part of the diagnosis of TS, whether they are a part of immaturity or a failure of the school to accurately implement an educational plan such as an IEP or 504 plan.

Luckily, the Tourette Association has provided many resources to help families and schools modify unsuccessful, unwanted and inappropriate behaviors. With the ultimate goal to ensure that students with TS succeed in the school environment, as well as feel supported and positive about themselves, the TSA Educational Advisory Board has provided families and educators with many resources to address these challenging behaviors in school.

If you or your student needs help or advocacy at school, reach out to your local Tourette Association Support group or the Tourette Association for more resources.

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