Some tics, however, do not go away. Tics which last one year or more are called "chronic tics." These affect less than one percent of children and may be related to a special, more unusual tic disorder called Tourette's Disorder. Children with Tourette's have both body and vocal tics. Some tics disappear by early adulthood, and some continue.
Children with Tourette's Disorder may have problems with attention, concentration, and may have learning disabilities as well. They may act impulsively, or develop obsessions and compulsions. Sometimes people with Tourette's Disorder may blurt out obscene words, insult others, or make obscene gestures or movements. They cannot control these sounds and movements and should not be blamed for them. Punishment by parents, teasing by classmates, and scolding by teachers will not help the child to control the tics but will hurt the child's self-esteem.
Through a comprehensive medical evaluation, often involving pediatric and/or neurologic consultation, a child and adolescent psychiatrist can determine whether a youngster has Tourette's Disorder or another tic disorder. The child and adolescent psychiatrist can also advise the family about how to provide emotional support and the appropriate educational environment for the youngster.
If you have concerns or questions, help is available. Go to the find help section of this site for support and services in your area.
Sources: Wisconsin United for Mental Health, Office of the United States Surgeon General, National Institute on Mental Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and Mental Health America
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