- Usually begins between 5 and 11 with an upper limit of 18
- Can be suppressed so may appear different in one place (e.g. school)
- Different degrees of severity; from mild to socially debilitating.
- 3 times as common in males
- symptoms can increase or decrease or even go into remission
- condition usually improves after adolescence
What to look for:
This condition causes sufferers to have an overwhelming compulsion to produce (usually facial) tics or to make or say uncontrolled noises or words. Sometimes the sufferer can be seen to be repeating phrases or mimicking gestures. Often is accompanied by ADHD. In severe cases there is involuntary use of obscenities, either vocal or gestural. This is called coprolalia and about 25% of people with Tourettes have this condition. The symptoms are likely to be at their most pronounced during puberty.
The symptoms of Tourettes are not always present. There can be periods of weeks when no symptoms appear. Some children may also have specific problems with organising work, memory and copying. Copying information quickly and accurately from the blackboard can be particularly difficult. Maths may cause special problems. There may also be difficulty understanding and remembering class work or homework