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​Tourette syndrome is a neurological (brain) movement disorder.  Persons with Tourette syndrome have “tics”.  Tics are movements, which repeat, and are “involuntary” (not purposeful actions).    
               
Most symptoms appear before a child reaches the age of 18 years old.  The average age of onset of is 7 years old. Boys are three to four times more likely to have Tourette syndrome than are girls. Tourette syndrome is not contagious.

Doctors do not know exactly what causes Tourette syndrome.  It is a disorder, which is most likely a problem with the neurotransmitters (chemicals), between cells in the brain. 
 
Tourette syndrome appears to be genetic, or in other words, inherited.   A child with a parent who has Tourette syndrome has an increased likelihood of inheriting the disorder.  However, the expression of Tourette syndrome is not predictable.  In other words, different tics and different severities from mild to severe may occur in a child of a parent with Tourette syndrome.
 

Symptoms associated with the condition:

There are two main types of tics:
  1. Physical tics: Examples: eye blink, shrugging, nose twitching; or complicated motions like picking up and item and smelling it
  2. Vocal tics: Examples: throat clear, cough, grunt, sigh, sounds, words
Because of the disorder in movement, a child may have difficulty with moving, sensory integration, dressing, hygiene, feeding, etc.
 

Brief description of diagnosis: 

There is not a specific medical test for Tourette syndrome.   Your child’s doctor may choose to run tests to rule out other medical conditions that may cause movement disorders.   Doctors may look at symptoms, family medical history and other clues to diagnose Tourette syndrome.
 

Treatment:

Mild tics associated with Tourette syndrome may require no direct treatments.
 
Your doctor may treat moderate or severe symptoms of Tourette syndrome with medications to reduce, but not get rid of symptoms entirely.   Talk with your doctor about which medications may be helpful for your child.  It is important to work closely with your doctor as you find the best ways to treat your child.
 
When a child is experiencing stress or is, tired tics generally worsen. Eliminate stressful activities or situations from your child's schedule. Help him or her to get enough sleep.  Sometimes psychotherapy can be helpful for a child to learn stress management and relaxation techniques.
Sometimes symptoms of Tourette syndrome lessen in severity after a child goes through puberty.
 
Seeking treatment for your child with an occupational therapist or physical therapist can help your child increase their ability to move, dress, bathe , eat, etc. 
 
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