Tourette's Disorder

Also known as: Tourette's syndrome, Tourette syndrome.

What is Tourette's disorder?

Tourette's disorder is a nervous system condition that causes children (boys three times more than girls, frequently starting between 2-15 years of age; average 6 years) with the condition to make sudden unwanted repetitive motions or sounds sometimes referred to as “tics”. Blinking the eyes repeatedly or blurting out sounds loudly are common symptoms of Tourette's disorder.

What causes Tourette's disorder? 

The exact cause of the brain abnormality is not known however a combination of genetic (runs in families), and environmental factors, are probably involved.

What are the symptoms of Tourette's disorder?

Tics can be simple or complex (involving many parts of the body) and some may be quite mild. Stress, excitement or being tired can make them worse. They vary in type and frequency, can occur during sleep and worsen during an illness. There are two types of tics: movement abnormalities and vocal tics. Movement abnormalities like arm or head jerking, shoulder shrugging, eye blinking, loud noises, and mouth twitching. Vocal tics like grunting, coughing, shouting, swearing, barking or yelping or throat clearing.

What are Tourette's disorder care options? 

Mild tics may not need treatment. A combination of medications and therapies such as psychotherapy and behavior therapy may be helpful in treating Tourette's disorder. Deep brain stimulation (DBS-a neurosurgical procedure involving the implantation of a device, a neurostimulator or “brain pacemaker”) may be beneficial for severe tics that don’t respond to other treatment.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 2/22/2018 12:01:21 PM

Weekly Support Programs

​F.O.C.U.S. Program

This group therapy program is designed for children ages 7 to 17 with behaviorial issues, including but not limited to ADHD. This support group meets on Wednesdays.   Learn more.

Calm Kids

Calm Kids is a weekly group therapy course designed to teach children strategies on how to take control over anxiety symptoms. Children will learn how to cope with fears and worries, identify anxiety triggers, how to relax the mind and body and maximize their self-confidence. This group meets on Tuesdays. Learn more.

Camp DMC

Camp DMC is a summer program for children with special needs run by Nicklaus Children’s Dan Marino Outpatient Center. Please note: We will not offer Camp DMC during summer of 2019. Learn more.

Pain Management Group

This eight-week program is specifically designed to empower children ages 7 to 18 through complex sensory experiences. Learn more.

Teen Sleep Group

This six-week program is designed for teens ages 13 to 16 experiencing difficulties related to sleep, including daytime sleepiness, trouble waking in the morning, difficulty falling asleep and waking in the middle of the night. Learn more.

Social Skills Group

Children and teens ages 7 to 17 are invited to join this small discussion group to learn how to make, cultivate and maintain friendships. Participants will learn basic conversational skills, and discuss the use of appropriate humor, how to electronically connect with others, and how to manage disagreements. Learn more.