Understanding Tics & Tourette Syndrome

on April 11, 2012

by Kim

What are tics & Tourette syndrome?

Tourette syndrome is characterized by quick or sudden movements or sounds that are repeated for no apparent reason. These movements or sounds are called “tics.” Tics cannot be controlled, and some people with tics may not even be aware they are doing them. Some examples of common tics include throat-clearing or eye-blinking. In some kids and teens, the tics become more obvious or happen more often when they are feeling stressed or anxious. Up to one in five kids has experienced tics at some point in their life.

Who is affected?

In children with Tourette syndrome, the first tics usually appear before they are 10 years old. They usually affect the head and neck areas. At this stage, the tics tend to come and go, and don’t cause any real problems. In kids who develop Tourette syndrome, the worst symptoms tend to happen when they are between 9 and 13 years old. A lot of kids eventually outgrow their tics, but some children will continue to have tics into adulthood.

What can I do?

If you suspect your child might have tics or Tourette syndrome, you should talk to your family doctor. A lot of kids with tics also have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), so your doctor can help you figure out whether your child has any of these other conditions as well. It can be helpful to learn more about your child’s tics, and to explain them to your family and your child’s teachers or other caregivers.

The @Random Campaign

The cause of Tourette syndrome is still not very well understood. Tourette syndrome can be difficult to identify and diagnose because it looks different in everyone who has it. In order to help people learn about this disorder, the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada has developed an interactive campaign featuring videos of actual people with Tourette syndrome. What’s interesting about the campaign is that it uses the videos in a way that mimics the unpredictable nature of the disorder. The @Random website randomly pieces together clips of different Tourette documentaries, so each person who visits the site will experience the films in a completely unique way – just like Tourette syndrome.

To learn more, visit http://www.atrandom.ca, or watch the @Random trailer below.

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