When approaching someone who may be exhibiting common TS symptoms, simply asking “Is there anything I can do for you?” and “Are you okay right now?” can help. Using verbal de-escalation techniques can increase the individual’s compliance and reduce escalation. Demonstrating patience and understanding, as well as remaining calm, are key to diffusing a confrontational situation. The law enforcement officer’s mannerisms should be calm and deliberate. The officer’s speech should be clear and reassuring, letting the individual with TS know that they can express themselves and that the officer is listening to them. In stressful situations, it is critical that the individual has the ability to complete statements without interruptions. This is sometimes difficult depending on the severity of motor and vocal tics as the individual with TS attempts to communicate.
Here are 5 de-escalation tips for law enforcement officials to keep in mind when confronting an individual with TS or Tic Disorder;
- Remain calm and respectful during an encounter. This can help with gaining the individual’s trust and allow for compliance.
- Try to communicate that you are there to help the individual, as he or she might respond in a defensive mode when being approached.
- Keep an eye out for symptoms associated with TS and Tic Disorders –sudden, rapid movements and sounds. Remember that they are involuntary and the individual may or may not have the ability to temporarily suppress them.
- Try to understand the type of stress that the individual with TS may be experiencing. Ask the right questions to obtain the necessary information in order to proceed and intervene appropriately.
- Be patient and listen to the individual. Pushing for responses will only worsen the tic. The individual will usually communicate that he
or she is okay or is having trouble because of tics or other symptoms.