January 7, 2016 | By: Ailene Koffer
Have you ever wondered why that cute child at the grocery store screamed an obscenity or a phrase that no parent wants to hear? Perhaps you’ve seen the teenage girl who jerks her neck from side to side. Maybe a young man on the bus was constantly shrugging his shoulders and saying words or phrases that didn’t seem to be part of any conversation. It’s possible these people may be dealing with a condition known as Tourette syndrome, often called Tourette’s.
Tourette’s is a neurological (brain) disorder. Symptoms include motor tics and involuntary, rapid, sudden movements. Other symptoms include eye-blinking, head jerking, shoulder shrugging, and facial grimacing. Vocal symptoms can include throat clearing, barking noises, sniffing and tongue clicking. Symptoms may change from time to time in number, frequency, type and severity. They may disappear for weeks or months at a time.
Tourette’s can be accompanied by:
Tourette syndrome usually starts in childhood and can vary between individuals. Tics can sometimes be suppressed for periods of time, but this may cause discomfort and fatigue. Symptoms of Tourette’s may appear to be intentional. They sometimes seem to be purposely disrespectful and can be disruptive to others. Characteristics of Tourette syndrome and co-occurring disorders may keep a child from performing to full potential.
The Corpus Christi Support Group is part of the Tourette Association-Texas Chapter. They offer support and information. Quarterly meetings are held at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in the Outpatient Rehabilitation Library. All meetings are free of charge, unless otherwise noted. They also offer a children’s group (siblings are welcome). Contact Mary Perez at 361-816-3272 or email her for more information.