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. What they say can be negative, such as “this is dumb,” or “I don’t care about your stupid question,” or “I don’t have to do this.”
An effective support would be assisting the student to develop a different response when he requires more time to process. A positive strategy for a teacher might be to ask the question, then tell the student that you’ll come back to him in a minute for the answer; this works well for some students.
Any kind of stress reduction is helpful. Most importantly, teachers should understand that the reason for the delay in processing information is due to the child’s neurological difficulties, and not deliberate misbehavior.
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.
Specific Behaviors & Treatments
Behaviors may include a child exhibiting a need for excessive sensory input (chewing, hitting or hurting himself in some manner), or becoming easily over-stimulated by minimal sensory input such as noise, bright lights, the feel of certain fabrics, certain tastes or smells.
Involving an Occupational Therapist qualified in sensory integration issues is essential. Developing a “sensory diet” can sometimes be beneficial for the child and everyone who works with him/her.