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Tourette Syndrome

Tics

Tourette (TS) Syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by tics -- involuntary, rapid, sudden movements that occur repeatedly in the same way. To receive a diagnosis of TS a person must have both multiple motor and one or more vocal tics, not necessarily simultaneously, throughout a span of more than one year. The tics may occur many times a day (usually in bouts) nearly every day or intermittently. Tics periodically change in the number, frequency, type and location and wax and wane in their severity. Symptoms can sometimes disappear for weeks or months at a time. While most persons with TS have some control over their symptoms from seconds to hours at a time, suppressing them may merely postpone more severe outbursts. Tics are experienced as irresistable and (as the urge to sneeze) eventually must be expressed. Tics increase as a result of tension or stress and decrease with relaxation or concentration on an absorbing task.

Tics are categorized as Motor or Vocal, Simple or Complex. Simple tics are movements or vocalizations which are completely meaningless, whereas complex tics are movements or vocalizations which make use of more than one muscle group or appear to be meaningful.

Simple

Complex

M

O

T

O

R

Abdominal jerking
Ankle flexing
Arm flailing
Arm flapping
Arm flexing
Arm jerking
Arm squeezing
Clapping
Eye blinking
Eye rolling
Facial contortions
Foot dragging
Foot shaking
Foot tapping
Grimacing
Hair tossing
Head jerking
Knee bending
Knee knocking
Leg jerking
Licking
Lip smacking
Mouth opening
Nose twitching
Pouting
Shrugging
Squatting
Squinting
Stomping
Stooping
Tongue thrusting
Banging
Body jerking
Body slamming
Chewing clothes
Copropraxia
Echopraxia
Hair twisting
Hitting
Hopping
Jumping
Kicking
Kissing
Picking
Pinching
Pulling clothes
Skipping
Scratching
Shivering
Smelling things
Somersaults
Stepping backwards
Tearing things
Throwing things
Twirling in circles
Walking on toes

V

O

C

A

L

Belching
Clicking
Coughing
Gasping
Grunting
Gurgling
Gutteral sounds
Hiccupping
Hissing
Honking
Misc. noises
Moaning
Noisy breathing
Puffing
Screaming
Shouting
Sniffing
Snorting
Squeaking
Squealing
Sucking
Throat clearing
"Tsk," "Pft," etc.
Yelping
Amplitude of speech
Animal sounds -- cow, dog, etc.
Barely audible muttering
Calling out
Coprolalia
Echolalia
"Hey," "Wow," etc.
Humming
Laughing
Palilalia
Repeating parts of words
Repeating phrases
Repeating words
Spitting
Stuttering
Talking to oneself
Whistling
Yelling

* Copropraxia: Making obscene gestures.
* Echopraxia: Mimicking movements that others make.
* Coprolalia: Vocalizing obscene or other socially unacceptable words or phrases.
* Echolalia: Repeating what someone else just said.
* Palilalia: Repeating your own words over and over again.


This page based on a handout designed by Becky Ottinger, Education Consultant for the Kansas City Chapter of the Tourette Syndrome Association.