Tourette Syndrome Life's a Twitch Logo

Ask Dr. Dunc. Archives

Life's A Twitch! ®

If you are a new visitor, diagnosed with a difference, please read this introduction letter to you.

For all other new visitors, Dr. McKinlay also has a special introduction letter to you.

Nix Your Tics! Front Cover image

Nix Your Tics!

The Second
(E-)dition from "Life's A Twitch! Publishing". Click here to learn more.

Purchase, "Nix Your Tics!"

Purchase, "Nix Your Tics!" for Kindle

To watch the Life's A Twitch! documentary via streaming video, click here.

If you would like to reprint writings from this site, please click here.

Before Signing the Guestbook

Guest Book Icon

Nix Your Tics Facebook Group Nix Your Tics Twitter Feed

If you wish to return to the 'Ask Dr. Dunc!' archives mainpage, please click here

Life's A Twitch! Celebrating 15 years.
1998 - 2018
Life's A Twitch! Celebrating 15 years.



('what attitude should I have about all this??')

Question 97: Dear Dr. Dunc: My now 17 year old son was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome & ADHD 10 years ago. Since then he has also been found to be bordering on OCD, Conduct Disorder, Asperger's and probably all the other disorders that border on Tourette's and ADHD. A few years ago I decided to buy a small life insurance policy for each of my 4 children. Thinking that this would facilitate their obtaining their own policy when they matured and heaven forbid they have a life threatening disease that would prevent them from buying and insurance policy at that time. To my total shock Sean was denied insurance. He was then 11 years old. I than approached a total of 3 other companies that also all refused to insure him based on "The morbidity rate being too high". I have spoken to his psychologist, his psychiatrist, the President of the Tourette's Society here in Wpg. and none have ever heard of this happening. Could you possibly shed some light on this matter and give me any advise that you could. I at this point foresee him never being able to have insurance and this seems ridiculous especially seeing that neither of his disorders are life threatening. I should also mention that he was not denied dental or medical insurance which seems unbelievable as the companies are covering hundreds of dollars every month in prescription drugs. D.D., MB, Canada.

Question 91: I have a quick question for you. There is a young man who lives near me, walks down the street late at night, usually swearing loudly, has been hit by a drunk neighbour. When he hangs out near a convenience store, young people have laughed at him. I have quietly and gently spoken to them about how they would feel if they couldn't help doing something and people laughed at them and this has helped a bit. I'm please that he says 'Hi, miss' to me and smiles when he passes. Should I approach him about TS (I don't even know if that is a disorder affecting him)? Is there anything I could be doing in the community or suggesting to him to make his life more comfortable in the community? It's truly hard to believe that in this day and age, people can be so uninformed, ignorant and hurtful. B.A., ON, Canada.

Question 88: I was hoping you could help me with a concern we have regarding [our son] M. This weekend coming up M has a public speaking presentation on a French poem to do. I was wondering if I need to be concerned as to where M sits as he is supposed to sit near the front with kids he doesn't know but will be competing against. They have to sit through one grade of presentations and then theirs. I don't know when his turn is or how many kids - could be 20-30 per grade. He won't be able to move around or leave until after each grade category is done. My concern is with his tics, he is throwing his arms up in the air and shrugging shoulders and dropping his head. The most common is his arms in the air. I'm worried this could be a distraction to those up on stage (who are already nervous). Should he sit somewhere besides at the front like at the end of the row or near us if this is a possibility. M will be fatigued from a late hockey game the night before and up early and nervous about speaking.PERFECT CONDITIONS FOR TICS EH!!!!!!! I'm not looking for special treatment nor do I want M singled out I just want everyone to be comfortable, but I'm worrying I'm being too overprotective. M is in gr.4 and having a blast and doing exceptionally well in a big class of 44. J.S., MB, Canada.


Question 80: I am writing cuz' I am having trouble at school. My parents say it cuz' I don't "think before I speak" but I do. I have recently lost my best friend. We have been best friends ever since kindergarten, but no a girl has interfered with our friendship and we are no longer aloud to talk or hang out together without her interupting us. I want C. to be my friend and I don't know what to do. This girl...J. acts as if I don't have T.S. It's not fair. She doesn't know that I have OCD. When she says mean things like, "C. hates you! She's my best friend now!" it replays over and over inside my head. I want the people (and teachers) in my school to remember how easily it is for me to get upset. Please HELP!!! J.A.V.W., Canada.


Question 69: I was wondering if I should explain my Tourettes to my two fine arts instructors. One is dance, the other piano. Both classes channel my tics, and the few that do come out are not even noticeable to the few in the class that know I have TS. Both instructors are a bit hard to contact, so I was wondering do you think I should just let it go and not explain unless something comes up or do you think it would be more respectful to go though the difficulty of contacting even if I may not ever do a noticeable tic in front of them? I know it is my decision in the end but I would like an opinion for someone more experienced than I am. R.J., CA, USA


Question 67: A lady that I represent in a union capacity, recently had an outburst of foul language. She says that she suffers from Tourette's Syndrome and that this a normal behavior pattern associated with her condition. Her supervisor wants to discipline her under our company's Code of Conduct Rules. I say she cannot punish her as I believe the employee falls under American Disabilities Act (ADA), and they will have to allow this as a reasonable accommodation. It does not effect her work performance. So, my question to you is this. Do you agree that she cannot be punished for this kind of outburst under ADA or not? Thank You, R.H., CO, USA.


Question 54: My son is 16 years of age he has mild tourettes....He is also ADHD and has a learning disability. He is attendng a private school now that caters to his learning disability and gives him all the help he needs. He has developed this attitude lately that he feels he does no have to do any work at school. As a result his marks are sliding terribly. His every answer out of his mouth is I DON'T CARE OR GIVE A F ---!!!! hE WON't complete his assignments or do any amount of work. We are tearing our hair out trying to tell him that he needs to finish high school and get his diploma. But he thinks he can be a bus driver or anything without working towards anything. I wonder if I keep at him about this or just let him fail and suffer the consequences? What do you think is the best route? S.M., AB, Canada.


Question 47: Hi my name is Z. I have tourette and i wanted to tell you what i have discovered about my ts. I went to your presentation when you in Edmonton Alberta before xmas in 2001. I take alot of different meds for my ts. I also control my tics alot, but now that i'm older I'm starting to stop controling as much. I'm always thinking that my tics are embarassing but i have discovered (with the help of my parents) that the tics are not all that bad, that is, in public, but in school it's a hole different matter, so, i gave myself a goal that if i could tic a certen amout every day i could build up the amout of tics i let out every day i would get used to the feeling that i get. My brain keeps telling me that people are laghing at me, even though i know that they could care less about my tics. How did you get used to that ugly feeling? I want to know because I hate feeling like that every time that tics in the class room or even worse in the halls after the bell rings for second period. If you could please e-mail me back would be great. Thanks. From: Z.J., AB, Canada. P.S. i'm 16 years old.


Question 46: I have spent 1/2 an hour already searching thru sites to do with TS and I thought yours sounded friendly enough to ask this question...if there is something applicable in your archives please tell me. My son has formed a friendship with a boy (9 or 10) who has TS and they are looking at spending the next year together in the classroom. He is quite a conservative wee kid but is having difficulty concentrating while his new friend does his utmost to distract him and cause trouble. Without demanding that he be moved I feel it's necessary that he learns to find ways of dealing with this as it's unlikey to be his last encounter with disabilties of any kind. I do not want to rely on the teacher to monitor everything and feel at least a little prepared so that a friendship can be maintained. Thankyou for your time. L.R., Auckland, New Zealand


Question 28: Iwanted to thank you for giving me the time of day. I am not use to what you say in the e-mails you send. You said you are prod of me and the way I am handling my TS. I on the other hand feel like my family is attacking me. I know my parents would not attend [a presentation]. But I would like to....Under suspicion by my instructors, because the most I cold explain about TS in the 5 sec I got between classes is that it is a 'neurological condition'. Family friend don't want to get in the middle of the family tension, or just side with parents. My friends are having a hard time with my being out about TS, Mostly because most of my friends them selves are disinhibited. We joke about safety in numbers. They don¹t want to be out. And want to ignore it and go on. They can't relate to my want for understanding and the freedom of being out. I have no support in the USA. I have Mailing list. And you say I am doing well. I don't want to know what bad is.........................................

.......................................Oh and I am doing better. My dad wants me to be re-diagnosed. Maybe he will believe it when he hears it from the mouth of an expert. R.D., CA, USA.


Question 16: Hi. You were just in town talking to the kids at [my son's] school.My son has o.c.d. and he is 12 yrs. old. I did not realise that o.c.d. was a part of tics....I have been trying to tell the taechers about [my son's behavioural problems] but it does not work. They think I'm lying.Igot the doctor to sign a note saying he has it but it does not help.He is getting into trouble for things he can not help.I would like to know how to deal with the teachers?My son was very impressed with you and really enjoyed listening to you. His friend at the school has tics and him and her talk all the time about there problems, but when you came to the school and spoke on this he has not stopped talking about it.Thanks for coming to the school and talking to the kids.BYE. M.M., ON, Canada


Question 15: What I have read about add and TS is that the child has difficulty learn and does not score well on test. That is not the case with J., inspite of the problems he is very intelligent with a high IQ.

The problems that [my son] is having at school we understand is not controllable, but the school wants to force him to act and be held accountable like the rest of the school. The problems that he had on the one day I talked about were fueled by the actions of the school and now they have taken away....part of [his] IEP along with a lot of other items that could help J....The school is unwilling to try and work with him and is labeled a trouble maker. We are working with an advocate and have filed a case with the state department of education....We are frustrated....and feel that J. is being discriminated because of his problems which I believe is illegal. But forcing someone to do something is usually not the best way, we would like them to want to help.

Any suggestions would be helpful. R.M., OH, USA


Question 3: I'm going into the health care profession and as a health care worker, I have concerns on how to deal with patients with Tourette Syndrome. - Do I ignore the fact that they have it, or do I acknowledge it and then move on? Basically, does the patient generally feel better if I ignore it or should I tell them that I realize what's going on and then get back to the task at hand?? C.M., Alberta, CA


Top of Page




"Nix Tics!" Book

Accolades Youth Haven


Ask Dr. Dunc



Contact Links
Last updated on January 3, 2018

© 1998 - 2018.  Life's A Twitch!® & design are registered trademarks of B. Duncan McKinlay, Ph.D., C.Psych.

All activities related to Life's A Twitch!® are conducted by B. Duncan McKinlay, Ph.D., C.Psych. in a private capacity and do not represent the Ministry of Children and Youth Services or the Government of Ontario.

Dr. B. Duncan McKinlay's Life's A Twitch!® Site on Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders