Tic-related school problems: impact on functioning, accommodations, and interventions

Behav Modif. 2005 Nov;29(6):876-99. doi: 10.1177/0145445505279383.


Children with Tourette's syndrome (TS) are statistically overrepresented in special education classes; however, the extent to which tics contribute to such placement is unclear. In this article, the results of a survey of parents or guardians of 71 children and adolescents with TS are described within the broader context of discussing the impact of tics and educational practices. One half of the respondents reported moderate to significant tic-related academic impact, and 48% reported moderate to significant tic-related peer problems. Peer education and in-school counseling were generally not offered nor provided. In the minority of cases where behavioral interventions for tics were reported, contingent aversive consequences were reported to be ineffective or counterproductive, while positive reinforcement for modifying tics reportedly produced some successful results. The identification of research-validated academic accommodations and increased involvement of school psychologists are suggested as necessary and potentially helpful supports for students with TS and their teachers.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adolescent
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Education, Special
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Peer Group
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Students / psychology*
  • Tic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Tic Disorders / psychology*
  • Tic Disorders / therapy*