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  1. #1

    Default Teaching a kid with Tourette's

    Hi everyone! Our eldest has Tourette's and we're having a very difficult time getting her to complete any work, even stuff well below her grade level. I am having poor luck finding anything online which would give me ideas and techniques on how to educate a child with Tourette's. Any links to suggest? Anyone else here who has Tourette's or a child with it who could give me insights? Thanks!

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  3. #2


    Welcome! What I picked out from what you said was “getting her to complete any work”.
    How old is she? What grade is she in? You mention in your other post that youve been homeschooling for a year, and have three kids. The more context we have, the easier it is to give specific advice.
    Is she elementary aged? Are you sitting there with her while she is supposed to be completing something, or off assisting another kid? There are two aspects that come into play, in my experience:
    1) If something interesting is going on with the other kid, no independent world will be accomplished.
    2) The amount of work completed is inversely proportional to the distance between parent and child.

    It could also be that the work youre having her do isnt suited for her. Textbook followed by workbook activity as your science? How about watching a NOVA episode as a group, then completing developmentally appropriate activities, maybe just a summary of key points, maybe a paragraph or two on it? Is it boring for her? Is it math?

    Another aspect to consider is whether your expectations are reasonable. My younger son has been in OT since he was two, and for him, writing is a challenge. A simple worksheet where he is copying words (color sight words, yesterdays example) takes a tremendous amount of effort. He will spend five minutes writing two words, take a break, write another pair of words... and thats about it for the day - even though the page is only halfway filled in.
    If your daughter works on something for X amount of time, that can qualify as “done for the day”. You can pick it up the next day.

    Is it outright homeschool refusal? If thats the case, you might need to take a break, then regroup with a different routine and curriculum. Have a parent-teacher conference with yourself, brainstorm strategies and ask yourself tough questions. What are the goals you want for her, is what youre using going to get you there? Are you asking her to do busywork to keep her busy while you tend the others? Can you do more things as a group, and not expect pieces of paper “workproduct” after every activity? (Schools need workproduct - how else is the teacher going to know what the student knows - at home, you can cover it with a discussion.)

    Knowing context would help give better advice, too. You might think its invasive to want to know your kids ages (for relative developmental skills), genders (for pronoun use), and what state you live in (because things get done differently), but its really helpful to see it.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3


    I am a medical professional, but not well-versed in Tourettes, so please correct me if I am wrong - My understanding is that Tourettes is a disease related to unwanted to sounds and movements of the body. I would think that at home those things would not stop the ability to finish school work, but like I said I'm certainly no expert. I do know that Tourettes frequently co-exists with autism, ADHD, OCD and anxiety. Are you worried about any of these diagnoses affecting your school day? Anyhoo like AM said, give us your details and hopefully the collective brain here can come up with some helpful ideas.
    DS16 with ASD, DD12 and DS10

  5. #4
    Amy Welling


    My oldest has Tourette's Syndrome. When he was younger one of his tics was shaking his head back and forth several times at random intervals. He had a hard time getting any work done. One day I sat down and decided to try to read while shaking my head back and forth randomly. It was difficult for me to read a page.

    After that, we started doing all his work together. I would read to him, ask him to tell me about what he'd heard and he'd answer verbally or type his answers. The head shaking tic cycled out 6 months later and a new tic cycled in. With the head shaking tic gone he was able to start reading on his own more.

    It was really stressful for him when that he couldn't get the work done. He started thinking he wasn't intelligent which would stress him out more. The stress would increase the frequency of his tics.

    We did yoga (Little Yogis), stretching, deep breathing, walks, bouncing on a mini trampoline and fishing to reduce his stress. Now at 17, he knows when the head shaking tic returns that he won't be able to do things that require a lot of reading. He'll work on relaxing or he'll switch to a different activity where the head tic won't be a big deal for him.

    If you give us more detail like the age of your daughter and if she has any comorbid conditions then we will be able to give you more specific suggestions.

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Teaching a kid with Tourette's