Tourette syndrome or TS is a neurological disease wherein a patient makes sudden and frequent tics. These tics can take the form of making sudden, fast movements or sounds that they cannot control. TS usually surfaces between the ages of 7 and 12. Taking care of a child with TS is a challenge, especially if you don’t know what you’re up against.
Living with TS can be stressful for both parents and the child. Children with Tourette’s usually undergo treatments and therapy that helps them manage the symptoms. These include:
Biofeedback training, which helps a child react and control stress and pain. This therapy aims to reduce or manage tic inducing triggers.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps a child manage and control their behavior, thoughts, and emotions. This helps the child deal with their disorder and cope with the symptoms.
Relaxation therapy, which reduces a child’s physical and emotional stress levels. The goal of this therapy is to help children learn how to control their tics. This is done by deep breathing, muscle relaxation, meditation, or focusing on music which helps them cope with stressful events that can trigger tics.
There will also be times when a parent needs to consult a specialist when caring for a child with TS. These events include brash changes in the child’s behavior, illnesses like high fever or muscle stiffness, or symptoms that hinder daily function like changes in their vision.
Dr. Jonathan Lauter is a New York-based general and child and adolescent psychiatrist. He is a clinician at Refuah Health Center in Spring Valley, NY, while also maintaining a private practice in Manhattan. For more articles like this, visit this blog.