Back to School with Tourette Syndrome
School is starting all across New York State. Going back to school can be a very exciting time. We meet new teachers, see old friends, make new friends, prepare for a new year of learning. However, for kids dealing with TS, this can be more of a stressful experience than an exciting one. New teachers won’t understand my tics, new kids may make fun of me, I could get punished for things I cannot control. I remember those years all too well because I lived them. My experience was complicated by the fact that I did not have a diagnosis until 15 years after I had finished my formal schooling.
Education about Tourette Syndrome is clearly the key. Many teachers and classmates have never learned anything about TS. It’s not their fault — but it will be our fault if we do not seize the moment and provide them with the knowledge they need to be supportive.
Education is the Key
TAA of Greater NY State has the tools to help you. We offer teacher in-service programs, videos and brochures and can provide a youth ambassador who can do a peer in-service presentation. Let us know what your needs are. We can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 716-839-4430. I am a retired teacher of 33 years so I know all too well how busy those first few days can be. But parents, please remember that being in a new classroom setting with new teachers and new classmates who do not understand TS can be rough.
An in-service may not be able to be scheduled for a couple of weeks, so I am posting below a one-page fact sheet and an article about associated disorders in the classroom, that you can give to all of your child’s teachers that very first day, or in advance, if possible. They are not a substitute for an in-service, but can provide them with some very important information about TS that will help smooth out those first few days. I am also posting a sample “synopsis” of your child, his or her strengths, areas of difficulty and the accommodations that he or she has on a 504 Plan or an IEP, so that teachers will know from day 1 what they are responsible for. I urge you to create such a synopsis for your child, using the sample format, to give to all teachers working with your child, along with the other two articles. In addition, I am also posting a link to a 60-minute training video.
PLEASE CONTACT US. WE’RE HERE TO HELP!
Sue Conners, President
TAA of Greater NY State