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Information for Teachers

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is not a learning disability but some of the symptoms and co-occurring conditions can have a substantial impact on a child's ability to learn. It is important that children with TS are properly supported at school to help them reach their full potential.

How can TS affect learning?

  • Approximately 1% of school children have TS (the same prevelance as Autism). Many of those children will try to suppress their tics at school.  This takes a lot of effort and concentration which can compromise attention and ability to focus on school work. 
  • Certain tics can be disruptive and distracting. It's important to note that tics are not always visible, for example people can experience internal tics such as stomach clenching, and thought tics.
  • Co-occurring conditions can affect learning, for example a child may experience intrusive thoughts as part of their OCD which can affect their attention and mental health
  • Children tend to tic more at home - this can affect their ability to concentrate on and complete homework.  Sleep issues can be a problem for people with TS which will affect overall functioning.
 
How we can help

Advice and support service

What can we provide?

  • Training for educational professionals delivered via our free online training presentation or via video conferencing at a cost of £150. This would be suitable for use at staff meetings or as part of your INSET days. Our aim is to provide you with understanding and management strategies so that you can best support your students with TS. Training certificates provided on request.
  • Free resources for spreading awareness of TS to students within an educational setting. We can provide presentations, leaflets, balloons and a children’s quiz that can be used for anything from a class talk, to an assembly or even as part of a neurodiversity event.
  • A letter template for schools to send out to parents and carers to raise awareness about TS, (including challenging tics such as coprolalia), and encourage understanding and constructive dialogue between children and their care-givers.
  • Annual webinars and workshops for educational professionals to gain further awareness of TS.
  • Free resources for both staff and students to help gain a better understanding within your educational setting. Please see downloads and links below.

 

Presentations

  • Online Training for School Staff -  The aim of this online resource (powerpoint presentation with notes) is to increase awareness for all staff in a school setting; bring awareness to the barriers to learning children with TS may face in school; and provide schools with tried and tested strategies they can easily put in place to best support these children. Please print the worksheet (right-hand column) to accompany the presentation - download the presentation here.
  • Presentation for Primary School children - explains about Tourette Syndrome and can be used to raise awareness both at home and in school - download the presentation here
  • Presentation for Secondary School children - explains about TS and is a good tool to help educate older children and raise awareness - download the presentation here
  • Once Upon A Tic - a creative presentation to inform education and healthcare practitioners about some of the difficulties children have during the transition to secondary education, and in gaining a sense of safety with their tics amongst both peers and teaching staff.

 

Resources

  • Lesson plan and quiz for KS 1-4 - download our lesson plan and quiz sheet for each key stage to use in a classroom environment to educate pupils about TS.
  • TS Social Story - a learning tool to help support the exchange of information between children with TS and their teachers, friends and others in social situations (see right-hand side for download)
  • Executive Functioning difficulties - Looking all the different executive functions, it is easy to understand why executive functioning difficulties impact on progress for children in school, especially for those living with TS. Read our factsheet (right-hand side) explaining the impact of executive functioning and TS.
  • Sudden onset of tics in school - a factsheet (right-hand side) for teachers, addressing the sudden onset of tics in some students and how to manage these in a school environment.
  • Video Resources - Specialist teacher Katie Skinner presents a series of videos with advice and strategies for children, parents and teachers, click here to access the videos.
  • Key Facts for Teachers – this leaflet (right-hand side) gives an overview of TS and how it can affect learning, and outlines management strategies for the classroom.
  • School Passport - Our School passport is a support aid for students which contains information about their TS symptoms. Contact Venetia for your free passport.
  • Resources library - Click here for information sheets, printable and online articles plus book recommendations relating to school topics and TS.
  • What Makes Us Tic – general introduction to TS (right-hand side).
  • Coprolalia: School letter to parents - quite often this is one of the most difficult tics to explain to students and parents. Our supporting letter tackles this issue in a sensitive way and can be printed off and used by schools to help educate about TS (right hand side).

Top tips for teachers

  • Short, simple and clear instructions.
  • Time. Be patient and give the child time to focus and produce.
  • Movement is key to these Children’s learning. Don’t insist on sitting at a table with a pen for the whole task. Make it as interactive as possible.
  • Breaks need to be frequent.
  • Understand that Short bursts of work may be the key to success.
  • Handwriting is not a sign of intelligence. If it’s not a handwriting or spelling assessment then scribe for the child to let their creativity flow.
  • Provide an area for time out where child can feel comfortable to go if things get too much.
  • Allow tics and don’t tell off. And don’t expect the child to be able to concentrate on what you are saying whilst they are ticcing.
  • Never punish a TS child for not completing work and never make them stay behind to finish work especially not to let them miss their play!
  • Support child in explaining tics to peers so they fully understand that they too are ‘normal’ children.

 

For more information about how we can support you and what resources we have to offer then please contact our Education Manager, Lucy for further information.

 

 

 

Events

Friday 19 August 17:00

The Weekend@Moor Hall, Cookham, Berkshire

Sunday 28 August 14:00

Guildford Support Group, Guildford Spike, Warren Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3JH

Friday 02 September 16:30

TICfest@ Thorpe Woodlands, Thetford, Norfolk

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