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An investigation into mothers’ experiences of their children’s functional tic-like behaviour and tic attacks

Posted on 5 February 2024 by Pippa McClounan


A summary of a recent research study supported by TA

Thanks to the engagement of the TS Community, studies like the following are made possible. We're keen on sharing the insights from these research endeavors to showcase the advantages of participation. Please continue reading for a synopsis of 'An investigation into mothers’ experiences of their children’s functional tic-like behaviour and tic attacks'.


A lay summary of a research study conducted bythe University of Hertfordshire

In 2022 we carried out a study exploring twenty-one mothers’ experiences of sudden and new onset of severe functional tics. Results from the interviews revealed gaps and inconsistencies within the process of gaining access to professional services and a lack of support for the management of tics and functional tic-like movements, in addition to highlighting the impact it had on daily family life.

The findings emphasized the urgent need to create a clear management pathway for those experiencing sudden onset of tics and tic-like behaviour, including the need for more professionals with relevant knowledge, to improve the dialogue with families during the referral process, whilst prioritising the treatment of anxiety and other identified mental health concerns.

The full final version has just been published and is now available to read:

We also created an article to generate discussion and inform practice within schools about the management of functional tic-like behaviours.

Based on the experiences of the mothers we interviewed we followed up with an online survey to explore some of the shared characteristic of the children with sudden onset tics. Sixty parents completed the survey. We have just finished looking at the data and will be able to share the findings shortly. However, it did show the wide spectrum of labels that had been given by professionals to tic like behaviours and the high level of different health care professionals seen on the journey to gaining a diagnosis. 

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