On Wednesday April 5, the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders (NJCTS) came to the Forest Avenue School for a faculty in-service about Tourette Syndrome. There is a child at Forest Avenue affected by Tourette Syndrome.
Tourette Syndrome is an inherited, neurological disorder characterized by repeated involuntary movements and uncontrollable vocal, i.e. phonic, sounds called tics. In a few cases, such tics can include inappropriate words and phrases. In the United State, the Centers for Disease Control found that one out of 50 children ages 5 to 14 have received a diagnosis of persistent tic disorders (including Tourette Syndrome). And among children diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, 5 in 6 also have been diagnosed with at least one additional mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder such as anxiety (61%), ADHA (52%), learning disabilities (34%), and OCD (30%).
Claudia Lijo, education outreach coordinator, and Lisa Augliera, youth development coordinator, spent 30 minutes talking to faculties at the Forest Avenue School and passed along various educational information about Tourette Syndrome during the April faculty meeting. The presentation described the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments for Tourette Syndrome, and discussed its associated disorders and strategies and accommodations that can be used to enhance student learning at school.
Mrs. Augliera, who spent the first 15 years of her career working in an elementary school, 12 of them as a third grade teacher said, “it is essential to recognize that tics are just the tip of the iceberg; many co-occurring conditions, such as ADHD and OCD are diagnosed in addition to Tourette Syndrome.” She urged teachers and parents to recognize these co-occurring disabilities and work with students with Tourette Syndrome to develop a plan to accommodate their needs in the classroom.
Mrs. Lijo, who is also a mom of an adult child with Tourette Syndrome said, “School is our children’s second home, so we need to make sure they feel safe and understood when they are there. The NJCTS Education Outreach Program can make a huge difference in the life of the child with Tourette Syndrome.”
NJCTS offers faculty in-service and youth advocate presentations and is planning to come back in the next school year and present with a licensed psychologist and a youth advocate to the school. For more information about NJCTS and Tourette Syndrome, please visit NJCTS’s website.