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Information for teachers

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is not a learning disability but some of the symptoms and co-morbidities can have a substantial impact on a child's ability to learn. It is important that children with TS are properly supported to ensure they achieve to their maximum ability at school.

***Teacher Training Workshops 2019/20***

With a range of expert speakers we aim to pass on tried and tested strategies that you can use to help your students have full access to the curriculum and reach their full potential. We know having a child with TS in school can be very challenging so we aim to help you have a better understanding of how to manage behaviour, and empower these young people to fully understand and manage their TS

 

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.

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.

How we can help

Advice and advocacy service

We provide training for schools, either in-house or via video conferencing.  Our aim is to provide you with understanding and management strategies so that you can best support your pupils with TS. 

If the situation requires it, we can be involved in organised meetings specific to a pupil with TS, where further understanding and support is required.  

Please contact our Education Manager, Lucy for further information

 

Resources

  • Powerpoint presentation - a visual aide to support discussions, learning and understanding of TS
  • Video resources - Specialist teacher Katie Skinner presents a series of videos with advice and strategies for children, parents and teachers
  • 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 - a support aid for students which contains information about their TS symptoms. Contact Pippa for your free passport.
  • Resources library - here you will find more information sheets, print and online artciles and book recommendations relating to school topics and TS
  • What makes us tic – general introduction to TS (right-hand side).

 

"In assembly, one of the teachers told me to stop flicking my shoe. When I looked at him, my eyes rolled up in a tic. He kept me in at break for being rude, I was too embarassed to tell him it was a tic"

 
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