Tourette Syndrome Tourette Syndrome, also called TS, is an inherited neuropsychiactric disorder with onset in childhood.  It was named after George Giles de la Tourette, a French physician and neurologist, in 1885.  Once thought to be a rare condition, today between .4% and 3.8% of children ages 5-18 have it.  Early onset is generally between 3-8 years of age. TS was once characterized as a condition with multiple tics, inappropriate exclamations of curse words or derogatory, socially inappropriate remarks.  This is, however, only evident in a small minority of those with TS.  It's more common for the tics to be eye blinking, throat clearing, coughing, facial movements and sniffing.  Extreme TS in adults is rare...most adolescents outgrow the extreme symptoms as they mature.  TS does not affect life expectancy or intelligence. The exact cause of TS is unknown but it is thought genetic and environmental issues play a part.  There are no effective treatments for all cases, but medications do work to treat symptoms in some instances.  It's not uncommon for those with TS to have other diagnosis along with it.  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Bipolar, autism, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), are regularly seen and must be diagnosed and treated on a case by case basis. Diagnosticians have strict qualifications in order to diagnosis TS.  There must be multiple instances of motor tics and one type of vocal tic over a span of a year.  During this year there must not be more than a 3 month symptom free period.   The diagnosis is based on family history and ruling out other disorders. Some people affected with TS can suppress their tics.  However, a buildup of tension is reported and eventually the tic has to be expressed.  Tics come and go and vary in intensity.  Tics expressed as a reaction to a situation or environmental cause can falsely appear as being done on purpose.  This especially occurs when under stressful situations. Students with TS may require special circumstances with their education.  While some can function well in a main-streamed situation, most need one-on-one attention, special classes or even special schools. All in all Tourette Syndrome is an unpleasant disorder that isn't understood by the general public.  Imagine yourself blurting out curse words or utterances without being able to control it.  This is even more uneasy due to the ages that TS is prevalent.  Thankfully, in most cases as the child matures the tics diminish or go completely away.
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