Tics and Tourette Syndrome in Children

Tics are movements or sounds over which the child may have no control. Common examples include grunting, shrugging, blinking, throat clearing, or coughing. Tics in children are typically preceded by an urge, or a growing feeling of need to perform the movement or sound. This urge dissipates after the movement is completed. Tics in children are fairly common, and often, tics will stop as patients grow older or reach adulthood. Sometimes, however, tics can become severe or be a symptom of a more serious underlying problem, so it is important to discuss them with a medical professional.

Tourette Syndrome is a condition in which the child consistently suffers from multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic that have been present for more than 12 months. Children with Tourette Syndrome are at increased risk of developing concurrent learning disorders, anxiety disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The Movement Disorder Clinic provides a comprehensive approach to treating tics in children, implementing both medical and behavioral interventions. One treatment option for tics is Comprehensive Behavior Intervention for Tics (CBIT). CBIT is a highly structured program that teaches children how to increase awareness of their tics and take actions to minimize their severity and frequency.