Tics & Tourettes

What are tics?

Tics are repetitive involuntary movements or sounds like twitches, grunts, or coughs. They are quite common in early childhood around primary school age and usually improve over time. Occasionally they first appear in older children or adults.
Although they are not harmful, they can be a nuisance, embarrassing or get in the way of doing things. Tics may not require any treatment at all. They are often made worse by stress and anxiety. 

Tics and what to do about them
What are functional tics? Great Ormond Street Hospital is a national centre for tics- here they explain the difference between the different types of tics and the increase in functional tics over recent years.
What is CBIT or comprehensive behavioural intervention for tics? This therapy is showing promise for tics and Tourette’s sufferers but is not always available on the NHS. You can find plenty of videos on YouTube which explain how it works 

What is Tourette Syndrome (TS)?

Is a neurological condition which is inherited, (runs in families)  and is more common in boys. Key features of TS include tics which have been going on for over a year. Young people with TS may also experience other conditions too, such as ADHDAnxiety and OCD. Click on the individual words for more links on any specific problems. Tics are often made worse by worry and stress but can come and go. Sometimes one tic will go, only to be replaced by another. See information above on Comprehensive Behavioural Intervention Therapy (CBIT)

Tourette’s and ADHD
Tourette’s and OCD

Websites and charities

  • Tics and twitches This article from the Children’s society is a good summary of what tics and twitches are, and how to take control. It’s written for children so is easy to understand.
  • Tourettes Action UK This website has a wealth of useful information for parents, teachers and young people, including symptoms, causes and diagnosis of TS, managing TS, information about support in school, the latest research, and a large resource library. 
  • Tourette Syndrome Information Pack from Great Ormond Street



Tik-Tok-Tic challenge A video made by Brandon who has TS,  using physical challenges to try to explain how much effort it takes to suppress tics