What is Tourette syndrome?
Tourette syndrome is a type of tic disorder. Children who have Tourette syndrome will repeat both movements and sounds (called tics). Several different tics can happen at the same time, but they may not always occur together.
If a child has Tourette syndrome, the tics usually start when he or she is between 3 and 10 years of age. The movements and sounds come and go, and usually they aren't a severe problem. It is possible for your child to have a tic but not have Tourette syndrome. Talk to your family doctor if you think your child may have a tic or Tourette syndrome.
On TV, in movies and in the news, Tourette syndrome is often associated with cursing, or making offensive sexual or racist comments. However, only a small percentage of people who have Tourette syndrome have this symptom.
What else should I know?
Many children who have Tourette syndrome also have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (also called ADHD). Children who have Tourette syndrome may also have learning disabilities or obsessive-compulsive disorder (thoughts or behaviors that are repeated over and over). Your doctor can help you find out if your child has any of these other conditions.
Recognition and Management of Tourette's Syndrome and Tic Disorders by MM Bagheri, J Kerbeshian, L Burd (American Family Physician April 15, 1999, http://www.aafp.org/afp/990415ap/2263.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff