When your child has Tourette’s Syndrome(TS), life at school can be a challenge. From feelings of embarrassment, struggles with workload, and instances of bullying, school can be a scary place for both you and your child. Establishing good communication, mutual respect, and an overall understanding of the disorder between educators, peers, and your child will make for a much smoother experience overall.
Where to begin?
Schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher and other adults your child will regularly interact with at the school, like a bus driver, gym teacher, etc. Be prepared for the meeting and come with a list of accommodations that would help your child in the classroom. For example, establish a plan with teachers and staff to ensure that your child is not punished for his/her tics or other symptoms associated with the disorder, that additional time will be provided for quizzes or tests if tics are getting in the way, and that your child will have a seat in close proximity to the teacher away from distractions.
There are also IEP and 504 Accommodation Plans, if needed. IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan, and is a written statement that sets reasonable learning goals for the child and states what services the school will provide to help the child reach those goals. A 504 plan requires schools to provide a “free appropriate public education” to each qualified student with a disability, regardless of the disability. A Tourette’s Syndrome Diagnosis does not make one automatically eligible for an IEP or 504 plan. These are based on the results of education assessment or evaluation and the individual student’s needs.
It is important that your child’s peers understand your child’s disorder. Addressing it head-on will hopefully prevent bullying, and uncomfortable stares. Explain to the class what Tourette’s Syndrome is, and that your child has something in their brain that tells them to make these tics or noises. Emphasize that TS is not contagious, and the best thing that they can do is to treat your child just like anyone else.
Stay in the Loop
Develop an open line of communication with your child’s teacher. If your child is having any difficulty completing assignments on time, they may not be communicating that to you. Having good communication with your child’s educators is key to helping make adjustments to accommodate them or troubleshoot areas of difficulty.
If you’re seeking new treatment options for you or your child’s Tourette’s Syndrome, a new clinical study is enrolling now at Northwest Florida Clinical Research Group. Qualified participants receive care from board-certified physicians and close medical monitoring throughout the study. Study participants and their caregivers often learn valuable information about caring for their condition as well. Compensation is also provided for time and travel expenses.