Accommodations, Strategies and Techniques for Working with Students with Tourette Syndrome

Susan Connors, MEd.Presenter: Susan Conners, MEd.
View the webinar’s corresponding slide presentation here
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Sue Conners discussed many creative accommodations and strategies for working with children with Tourette Syndrome in the classroom and at home. Ms. Conners also include strategies for accompanying disorders such as OCD, ADHD, Executive Dysfunction. Sensory Issues, Learning Disabilities and Dysgraphia (writing deficits).


  1. NJCTS says:

    Do you know about the technology where the teacher has a mike and the child with wears ear buds, so the teacher’s voice goes directly into his ears and cuts down on his distractibility? Do you have an opinion about using it?

    • Sue Conners says:

      It is called an FM System. It works well for some children yet others report that it picks up on extraneous noises and doesn’t work well at all. It should be tested in a variety of settings with each individual.

  2. NJCTS says:

    I want my son to wear a hat in school because he pulls his hair. The school says he can’t because it would establish a precedent and other students would want to do it. Do you have a work around for that scenario? How do you have an accommodation like this without him becoming more “different” among the students?

    • Sue Conners says:

      That is a very reasonable accommodation to request and I cannot understand for the life of me why a school would refuse it. Ask them if a child in the class has a hearing aide would all of the children then need to have one? I would go to bat with you on this one if you need me on the phone.

  3. Martin H says:

    Does or can self abusive behavior include self harming like cutting? or is this more likely a comorbid like personality/ mood disorder?

    • Sue Conners says:

      It actually could be a sensory issue which often manifests in self abusive behaviors. Cutting can sometimes also be a manifestation of an emotional problem. This needs to be evaluated by both an occupational therapist and a psychologist/psychiatrist.

  4. SharonR says:

    Shouldn’t the OT be able to recommend assistive technology if all other interventions to help with handwriting have not worked? Would more assessments be necessary for a child to qualify?

    • Sue Conners says:

      An OT can certainly recommend technology but I would also request an assistive technology evaluation which would be done by someone who specializes in technology and what is currently available. The OT should work hand in hand with the person performing the AT evaluation.

  5. DonnaC says:

    I have a son who has been struggling with writing difficulties since kindergarten. My daughter has TS and associated disorders. My son (10) is exhibiting OCD, anxiety issues more and more in the last year. I have had difficulty getting the school to consider possibility of a LD (ie. dysgraphia) for many years because he has always been an “a/b” student…this marking period he has dropped to “c”. How can I convince school to look at this and evaluate him?

    • Sue Conners says:

      You will need to write a letter (I provided a sample one in my powerpoint of January 15) requesting that your school evaluate your son for an IEP under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). You will also need a letter of diagnosis from the physician who treats him fro OCD, anxiety, etc. As mu sample letter states, I would ask that he also be evaluated by the occupational therapist for handwriting and sensory issues. Once the evaluations are completed, an IEP eligibility meeting will be scheduled and a decision made. Remember that it is not just academics that they need to look at but also social/emotional well-being and functioning. I strongly suggest that you review the webinar of January 15 where I spoke about a 504 Plan vs an IEP and the whole process of obtaining one.

  6. Heather R says:

    What is a good resource for High School appropriate accommodations? I have found lots of them written for elementary school age, but none for middle or high school ages.

    • Sue Conners says:

      There are lots of them in my Catalog of Accommodations and also in my book. If you want a copy of the Catalog of Accommodations, you can email me at the email address given at both recent webinars. My book is also listed there and is available at amazon,com and all major bookstores.

  7. SusanB says:

    My son normally doesn’t have vocal tics but does during ‘lockdown’ drills at school ( as well as church, and concerts) but how should this be handled at school. I know the first lockdown they brought him with a teacher in a closet. He has since calmed down and has been better, but should something be in his IEP ? how should this be properly dealt with?

    • Sue Conners says:

      I agree that this should be built into his IEP. Bringing him with a teacher to a closet or secluded room may help but I also discussed the use of a “steno mask” at my January 22 webinar. If you contact me at the email address given at the webinar, I will send you all the necessary information about the steno mask.