Symptoms occurring in classroom

To educators, the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders often appear to be behaviors that are purposefully disruptive, attention-seeking or manipulative. However, a proactive approach can help educators interpret them as neurobiological symptoms out of a child’s control, instead of willful actions.

Speech Pathology

People with language-based learning disabilities may have difficulty understanding and learning new vocabulary, word relationships (such as antonyms and synonyms), word structure and/or grammar.


Students with TS and ADHD often have problems with Executive Function, which involves such skills as time management and problem solving. A person with executive deficits may not have these organizational capacities to demonstrate their talents and abilities productively in their academic or career pursuits.


A person with this specific learning disability may have problems that include illegible handwriting, inconsistent spacing, poor spatial planning on paper, poor spelling, and difficulty composing writing, as well as thinking and writing at the same time.


The complexities of TS are difficult to understand. In particular, behaviors that appear to be purposeful but are in fact are a result of the inconsistent ability to inhibit symptoms. For example, a youngster with TS may say something that is inappropriate yet it appears to fit the situation. Students without TS may have the same thought process in the same situation but are able to inhibit acting while a student with TS is not.

Executive Function

Executive function involves the skills necessary to succeed in school and in life; two examples are time management and problem solving. A person with executive deficits can have extraordinary talents and abilities, but not possess the organizational capacities to demonstrate these abilities in a useful and productive manner.

Processing Disorder & Sensory Integration

Frequently students with TS have difficulty processing information presented to them either verbally or visually. They may require more time to answer a question or respond to a directive. Some have learned to fill in the awkward silence by saying something. Sensory issues and/or ‘tactile defensiveness’ may be seen in children diagnosed with TS. Students who are hypersensitive to light, sound, touch, taste, or smell frequently have difficulties processing specific sensory stimuli.