Online Support Groups for Tourette Syndrome

Online Support Groups

In cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Tourette Association of America is pleased to offer a series of online support groups. These support groups are available for people who may be located in underserved areas with limited access to resources and support. Each support group meets once a month for approximately 90 minutes. In order to participate, the only equipment needed is an internet connection on a computer, iPad/tablet or similar device, and a working microphone. A web cam is not necessary; however, you will be able to see the moderator and are invited to join the meeting using your web cam.

To be added to the waitlist for future groups please click here.

PLEASE NOTE: Space for these support groups is extremely limited and registration is on a first come, first serve basis.

The TAA is proud to announce we will be hosting an online support group for Spanish speaking parents of children with Tourette Syndrome.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Angela Sullivan, TAA Medical Project Specialist.

Parent Support Group #1

2nd Tuesday of the month. This group runs from 6:00-7:30pm EST.

  • Session 1, November 12: Introduction & Welcome
  • Session 2, December 10: The Iceberg: Coping with the Comorbidities
  • Session 3, January 14: It Takes a Village
  • Session 4, February 11: Managing Conflict & Discipline
  • Session 5, March 10: School and Education
  • Session 6, April 14: TS & Relationships
  • Session 7, May 12: Having the Difficult Conversations
  • Session 8, June 9: Setting Up for Success
  • Session 9, July 14: Group Choice
  • Session 10, August 11: Taking Care of Yourself

Facilitator: Dr. Heather Simpson
Heather Simpson, OTD, MOT, OTR/L is an Occupational Therapist and Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Florida, UF Health in Gainesville, Florida. Heather serves as the Tourette Association Southeast Regional Centers of Excellence Coordinator between six research & academic universities across the Southeast region. Dr. Simpson has a pediatric specialty from the American Occupational Therapy Association and has been treating adults and children with tic & Tourette Disorders. Dr. Simpson is an expert in occupational therapy management for tic disorders, as well as use of CBIT in the Southeast area. She has participated in multiple small research studies related to occupational and daily life functioning for those living with tic disorders. Dr. Simpson has been allotted opportunities for advocation and training to occupational therapists, as well as other allied health professionals in management of tic disorders, including a chapter in 10 Secrets to a Happier Life with Tourette Syndrome.

Parent Support Group #2

2nd Thursday of the month. This group runs from 7:00-8:30pm EST.

  • Session 1, November 14: Introduction & Welcome
  • Session 2, December 12: The Iceberg: Coping with the Comorbidities
  • Session 3, January 9: It Takes a Village
  • Session 4, February 13: Managing Conflict & Discipline
  • Session 5, March 12: School and Education
  • Session 6, April 9: TS & Relationships
  • Session 7, May 14: Having the Difficult Conversations
  • Session 8, June 11: Setting Up for Success
  • Session 9, July 9: Group Choice
  • Session 10, August 13: Taking Care of Yourself

Facilitator: Tricia Kardon, RN
Tricia Kardon is a parent of a young adult with Tourette Syndrome. She lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband Eric, who is a retired Emergency Physician now working with medical professionals through the hospital system IT Department. Their daughter Danielle is attending graduate school in Tennessee studying Occupational Therapy, and son Kevin recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Art. Kevin was diagnosed with anxiety at the age of 6, Tourette syndrome and learning disabilities at the age of 8, ADD and Asperger’s at the age of 10, and Crohn’s disease at the age of 13.

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Her experience in working with families affected by Tourette’s (TS) started with her son’s diagnosis when he was 8 years old. She became involved with the Tourette Syndrome Association’s Georgia Chapter in 2007 (now known as TICS of GA). From 2007 until 2010 her primary responsibility was to support families in Georgia with the occasional need to help in other surrounding states as well. By 2010, Camp Twitch & Shout had grown tremendously with over 110 campers and 75 volunteers. At that time her focus shifted towards the development of camp and fundraising. For the past 5 years they have provided subsidized tuitions and scholarships to approximately 100 families each summer. The program has been filled to capacity with 250 total attendees (volunteers and campers) since 2014. Tricia recently retired from my position with TICS of GA in August of 2018.

Tricia is excited to be returning her focus to working with parents and families through a positive meeting experience in conjunction with the Tourette Association of America. Creating a supportive network has been a passion and goal of hers for many years now. Camp brought her together with many families who continue to search for support, guidance, and meaningful connections beyond the gates of camp. She is most excited to develop an effective, engaging, and enjoyable online program with the support of the Tourette Association of America.

Tricia is currently licensed as a Registered Nurse in Georgia and is now able to practice in several other states through a Nursing Compact Law recently adopted in Georgia. Her role as the facilitator for this group will be to help guide the conversation, as well as connect and coach other parents during the meetings.

Young Adult Support Group

2nd Wednesday of the month. This group runs from 7:00-8:30pm EST.

  • Session 1, November 13: Introduction: Who we are and the gifts we share with the world
  • Session 2, December 11: Home for the Holidays and Family Matters
  • Session 3, January 8: Meeting New People
  • Session 4, February 12: Dating
  • Session 5, March 11: Thinking about Future Occupations: From Idea to Execution
  • Session 6, April 8: Study Skills and Time Management
  • Session 7, May 13: Accommodations and Rights
  • Session 8, June 10: Managing Stress and Anxiety
  • Session 9, July 8: Managing Conflict
  • Session 10, August 12: Resiliency Throughout the Life Span

Facilitator: Debi Hinerfeld
Debi Hinerfeld, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA has been an occupational therapist for 30 years, working with children, adolescents, and adults, in private practice, in schools, and in hospital settings. She is certified in Comprehensive Behavioral Interventions for Tics (CBIT) and has undergone post professional training and certification in sensory integration evaluation and intervention. Debi completed her doctorate in Health Sciences with a focus in Healthcare Administration in June 2017 and has taught at two graduate level occupational therapy programs in Atlanta, Georgia.

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During the summers of 2016 and 2017, Debi greatly enjoyed serving as a member of the support staff to campers at Camp Twitch and Shout in Winder Georgia, a one-week summer camp for kids who have tics. It was here that she discovered the remarkable spirits of kids and young adults with tic disorders and the personal, functional, and societal challenges that they face on a daily basis.

As an occupational therapist certified in CBIT, Debi utilizes her unique OT perspective that considers the whole person and the challenges of engagement and performance in meaningful activities that a person needs and wants to do. Debi enjoys using a collaborative, function-based approach with each of her clients that promotes participation and independence, allowing each person to integrate new strategies to live life to its fullest.

Personally, Debi has been married to her husband Alex for 25 years and has a 21 year-old daughter, Madelyn, who is a graduate student at the University of Georgia. She also has two rescue dogs, a Goldendoodle and a Great Pyrenees.