is Tourette Syndrome?
(TS) is a nervous system disorder characterized by involuntary, rapid,
sudden movements or vocalizations called tics that occur repeatedly
in the same way. TS is not degenerative in any way; it is not a sign
of mental illness; it is not caused by poor parenting or abuse of any
kind. TS usually begins in childhood and often continues throughout
life; it is found across all ethnic backgrounds and at all socioeconomic
levels; although socially awkward its expression is largely cosmetic.
of tics is unlimited and unique to each person. The compulsion to tic
can range from barely noticeable to irresistible. Tics occur many times
a day usually in bouts waxing and waning in their severity and periodically
changing in frequency, type and location.
be: eye blinking; facial grimaces; head jerking; shoulder shrugging;
snapping; tongue clicking; throat clearing; touching other people or
objects; self-injurious actions; mimicking someoneís mannerisms; repeating
a sound or word just heard; out of context gestures words phrases or
sentences which sometimes may be socially inappropriate.
Tic Triggers: While many tics come out of seemingly nowhere even from
the perspective of the ticcer, others clearly are incited. Observing
someone tic or have tic-like behavior, seeing the actual tic word or
something else associated with specific tics, or remembering memories
particularly uncomfortable ones all can evoke tics.
Generally, the compulsion for a specific tic decreases as itís inappropriateness
in that particular environment increases. In most situations where it
would be socially awkward for certain tics people with TS will not have
any. If they do tic, it will be the ones that are least disturbing.
However as soon as they move to a less restricted environment where
they are alone or with people they feel comfortable ticcing with, they
will often experience a major tic bout including the more offensive
tics they couldnít do earlier.
that affect Tics: Stress, boredom, positive or negative emotional excitement,
fatigue, Central Nervous System stimulants like sugar and caffeine,
being told to stop, trying to repress them or lack of understanding
from others all can significantly increase tics. Being in a stimulating
or new environment, involved in conversation, meeting new people, concentrating
on a task, relaxation, and acceptance by others all can significantly
I ask of you.
Now that I
understand what TS is, I accept it and itís not a big deal to me. Most
of the time I will be fine, but sometimes it can be overwhelming so
when I do tic please ignore them as they are harmless. However if I
offend you or you canít handle seeing me this way then talk directly
to me about it and I will try to accommodate you by redirecting the
tic into something less threatening to your sensibilities, but note
that I will not ostracize myself because of this. If you have any other
concerns or questions please talk directly to me.