Occurring in 1% of school-aged children, Tourette syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by uncontrollable movements and vocalisations known as tics.
Tics can be simple (e.g., blinking, grimacing, throat clearing, sniffing) or complex (e.g., movements involving multiple body parts, repeated words, coprolalia).
First symptoms usually appear between 4-6 years of age, with tics often coming and going over time, varying in type, frequency, location and severity. Tics often reach a peak during adolescence, becoming less frequent or less severe as a person enters adulthood. For some people though (~25%), Tourette’s is a lifelong condition that can worsen over time.
Tics can significantly impact on many aspects of life. They can physically, socially and emotionally impact on daily living, academic and occupational achievement, and participation in leisure and play.
Tourette syndrome is a heterogeneous condition. Intensity of symptoms varies from person to person. For some children, tics are mild or there are lengthy periods where tics are absent, meaning they can enjoy the same things that other children do. For others, the disability is more substantial, having a greater impact on quality of life.