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The Tourette Association offers this material to help students, parents, families, educators, clinicians,
and others understand Tourette Syndrome in the classroom and school, to
promote optimal teaching and learning, end stigma and promote acceptance of students with TS.

Q. I have read on your website that all U.S. state special education laws must follow the federal IDEA. But I have also read that in some cases they may be different depending on which state you live in. My question is about my son who is being punished for his symptoms. How important is it that I take the time to research my state department of education’s website to find their laws that have to do with discipline protections for my son who has TS. Or is being aware of the federal laws enough?

A. Thank you for this very important question. You can gain a basic understanding of your son’s legal protections and how they specifically impact students with TS in the Discipline section of our website’s main Education page:

You are correct that while states must follow the Federal IDEA, they can differ somewhat if their laws are less restrictive and provide more protections for the student. I strongly encourage you and everyone who has a child with TS to become knowledgeable regarding your specific state’s laws and particularly those that involve discipline, manifestation determination and functional behavior assessments.

You can easily access your state’s Department of Education website by going to   Unfortunately, websites vary in the ease of locating specific education laws regarding discipline protections. But it will be time well spent.  Remember you are your child’s best advocate and when discipline becomes an issue, it is imperative that you be knowledgeable.  You want to continue to work toward a collaborative relationship with your child’s school, but discipline is a serious issue. By being aware of the law, you will demonstrate to them that you are well informed and will not need to rely on their knowledge of the law regarding your child’s rights. 

Ask the Tourette Association Education Advisory Board a question about Education - all questions will be answered.

  • 10 Things Teachers Can Do For Students with Tourette Syndrome - article
    Very often, teachers and school personnel misinterpret the symptoms that are associated with Tourette Syndrome. Every student with TS is unique; therefore, it is important for education professionals to remain curious about how to utilize teaching strategies and offer the appropriate supports to help students achieve academic and social success... [More>>]

  • Identifying Common Education Difficulties with TS - article
    Due to the misunderstanding of the underlying symptoms of Tourette Syndrome, there is a common misperception that these symptoms are done purposefully. Students are often so focused on masking their symptoms that their true intellectual abilities may be disguised. It is important for educators to recognize the common education difficulties students with TS face in order to better address their needs...[More>>]

  • TS is More than Tics: Understanding Behavioral Challenges & Related Symptoms- article
    Tourette Syndrome and its common co-occurring conditions are often misinterpreted as disruptive behavioral problems. When the educator is not sufficiently knowledgeable about TS, there is more of an opportunity for the student to face punishment because he or she is seen as a problem. If the educational team recognizes that the student is struggling due to co-occurring problem, they will be more likely to develop and implement proactive strategies and work with the student to instill a positive outlook on academics and the school environment...[More>>]

  • Classroom Strategies and Techniques for Students with Tourette Syndrome- article
    Key elements for creating a supportive educational environment include awareness, acceptance, and creativity. When school personnel are educated about Tourette Syndrome, able to recognize it, and can offer the appropriate supports, the students will have greater opportunities for success......[More>>]

  • Tics in the Classroom: an Educator's Guide - article
    In the classroom, tics may seem disruptive or intentional, but educators need to understand that tics are not the student’s fault and that they are not simple habits that can easily be replaced or stopped...[More>>]

  • Vocal Tics in the Classroom - an Educator's Guide- Webinar - slides, audio, downloads

  • Anxiety Management in the Classroom - Children with Tourette often have accompanying worry and anxiety - this article gives accommmodations and strategies for teachers and school-based professionals to help students manage their anxiety. Written by Helene Walisever, PhD, Clinical Psychologist and member of  theTourette Association Education Advisory Board.

  • Handwriting Issues - article
    Dysgraphia, or written language deficits, is a common issue for students with TS. The reasons for these deficits are varied and complex, but they can prevent students from being able to transfer thoughts into writing...[More>>]

  • A Guide for Paraprofessionals - article
    Paraprofessionals and classroom aides can play an important role in ensuring a safe and successful school experience for students with TS by providing positive supports...[More>>]

  • Tourette Syndrome In-service
    Offers essential information on Tourette Syndrome and related conditions for school-based staff.  This resource will discuss the following:...[More>>]

  • Tourette Syndrome in the Classroom, School and Community - Seminar for educators - filmed at an all-day live presentation by members of the Tourette Association Education Advisory Board - addresses the following topics:...[More>>]

  • Educator's Guide for Developing Plans for Students with Tourette Syndrome - article

  • Stand UpOnline Video "Stand Up for Tourette Syndrome"
    Short video (3 min., 39 sec.) in which school kids STAND UP for TOURETTE SYNDROME by helping Luke, a young boy with TS explain his TS to a group of kids who have been acting really mean to him - video is downloadable as is a Teachers' Guide - click here.

  • DVD with Teacher's Resources:
    HBO Documentary, I Have Tourette's But Tourette's Doesn't Have Me.
    The DVD features content shown on the HBO broadcast plus a variety of resources for educators, families, and children interested in learning more about Tourette Syndrome, and supplementary information from experts John Walkup, M.D., Susan Conners, M.Ed., and Evan Trost, M.D.  DVD available here.
    Free Teacher's Guide - Click here to View or Download

  • Book with Teacher's Resources:

    In this novel, Carrie, a seventh-grade girl has just been diagnosed with TS.  Targeted to early teens, Quit It explores Carrie's struggles to cope with TS while trying to fit in with her peers. Available here.

    Free School Reading Program and Sample Lesson Plan Using Quit It. Click here.

  • Programs for Educators and School-Based Staff
    The Tourette Association offers programs to special education directors, IEP team chairpersons, regular and special education teachers, school psychologists and social workers, school nurses, paraprofessionals, speech therapists, occupational therapists in professional association, conference, and university settings.  Presentations are given on Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders; attendees receive course materials (click here for program details and contact information).

  • A Workbook for Conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment and Writing a Positive Behavior Intervention Plan for a Student with Tourette Syndrome - Publication #E-126 - Practical guide and valuable resource to address complex behavioral issues. Includes Overview of Functional Behavioral Assessments, FBA Worksheets, Positive Behavior Interventions.

  • Section 504 - provision of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Federal Law) which prohibits recipients of federal funds from discrimination against persons with disabilities

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - Federal Law - stated purpose (in Section 1400 (d)(1)) is  “…to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living” and “to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected….”

    IDEA specifically includes Tourette Syndrome under the definition of Other Health Impairment (OHI)§300.8(c)(9)); the Department of Education explains why Tourette Syndrome is included under OHI:

    "Discussion: ... we do believe that Tourette syndrome is commonly misunderstood to be a behavioral or emotional condition, rather than a neurological condition. Therefore, including Tourette syndrome in the definition of other health impairment may help correct the misperception of Tourette syndrome as a behavioral or conduct disorder and prevent the misdiagnosis of their needs.
    Changes: We have added Tourette syndrome as an example of an acute or chronic health problem in §300.8(c)(9)(i)."

    §300.8(c) "Definition of disability terms. The terms used in this definition of a child with a disability are defined as follows:
    ...(9) Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that:
        (i) is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, and sickle cell anemia, and Tourette Syndrome; and
        (ii) adversely affects a child's educational performance"

    IDEA regulates Independent Education Programs (IEPs)

  • Understanding Assessments & Evaluations - audio and slides

  • IEE (Independent Educational Evaluations) - audio and slides




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