Chapter 7: Information Sources
Section 3: Specific Disabilities – Information Sources
Subsection: Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder which becomes evident in early childhood or adolescence between the ages of 2 and 15. Tourette syndrome is defined by multiple motor and vocal tics lasting for more than one year. Many people have only motor tics or only vocal tics. The first symptoms usually are involuntary movements (tics) of the face, arms, limbs or trunk. These tics are frequent, repetitive and rapid. The most common first symptom is a facial tic (eye blink, nose twitch, grimace), and is replaced or added to by other tics of the neck, trunk, and limbs.
These involuntary (outside the patient's control) tics may also be complicated, involving the entire body, such as kicking and stomping. Many persons report what are described as premonitory urges -- the urge to perform a motor activity. Other symptoms such as touching, repetitive thoughts and movements and compulsions can occur.
There are also verbal tics. These verbal tics (vocalizations) usually occur with the movements; later they may replace one or more motor tics. These vocalizations include grunting, throat clearing, shouting and barking. The verbal tics may also be expressed as coprolalia (the involuntary use of obscene words or socially inappropriate words and phrases) or copropraxia (obscene gestures). Despite widespread publicity, coprolalia/copropraxia is uncommon with tic disorders.