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Changing Schools: Advice for Parents Helping their Kids Adjust

I know that mid-year moves are difficult for children, but, due to a job change, we’ll be moving in January. My 9-year-old is very happy in her current school. She is popular and academically successful. Her friends appreciate her and they are comfortable with her TS. We’ll be starting from scratch in a few months — new town, new school, new kids. Do you have suggestions about how to address the double challenge of being the new girl and the girl with TS?

How fortunate that your daughter has had these positive experiences of social and academic successes, and can bring these strengths with her as she moves to a new neighborhood and new school. You might want to broach the topic with her of the upcoming challenge of moving and meeting new people, and brainstorm together about what strategies can ease that process. If you are concerned that her tics will be noticeable to her new classmates, I would encourage you and your daughter to explore ways to educate her peers with which she will feel comfortable. You didn’t say whether your daughter explained her TS to her current friends and if so, how she went about it. You can ask her to identify what strategies worked so well for her in the past, so that she can employ them again. Children are typically very empathetic once tics are explained to them. The reaction of her new peers is less likely to be negative once TS is explained to them. Your daughter, you, and her teacher can share a role in a peer presentation. Or you may want to involve a local Tourette Association Youth Ambassador, or the video “I Have Tourette’s but Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me”  in which William is shown teaching his class about TS. You may want to consider viewing that scene together with your daughter to spark a discussion. You may also want to take an active role in helping her stay connected by phone, mail, email or visits to the supportive friends she is leaving behind.

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