Disclosure: How and when to tell the rest of your world

zambrano-squarePresenter: Dr. Rob Zambrano

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We’ve tackled explaining to your child that he/she has a mental health condition. You’ve explained it to the family. Now, do we tell the rest of the world? Who should know? How do we tell them? Dr. Zambrano will help weigh the pros and cons of these decisions. He will review strategies for how to do this with an eye towards future disclosures into adulthood.


  1. KelleyT says:

    I’m a teacher in elementary school; a child in my class clearly seems to have tics. Yet the family has not mentioned anything and even worse for the child they have not asked for any accommodations. How would you recommend handling that situation to get the best outcome for the child?

    • Dr. Zambrano says:

      Sometimes tics are more obvious in the school setting then they are at home. Sometimes families are afraid to bring it up because they worry that their child could be labeled, singled out, treated differently, etc. I’d suggest that its best just to be direct but gentle. Let them know what you’ve observed, how you think it might interfere with classroom functioning and the benefits of going to see a neurologist to get a diagnosis because this would make it easier to get accommodations. Then you could describe the kinds of accommodations you can recommend and why you think they’d be helpful. Finally, refer them to njcts.org to find out information about seeing a neurologist and learning more about TS and the accommodations that can help.

  2. KelleyT says:

    How important is it for me to disclose to my employer or do I have to disclose to my employer?

    • Dr. Zambrano says:

      You don’t have to disclose to your employer. You can chose to disclose to your employer if TS makes aspects of your job challenging. IF that is the case you could see what is covered by the Americans’ with Disabilities Act and take to your employer about accommodations in the work place that could help.

  3. KelleyT says:

    I’m headed off to college do I need to tell my professors? How about my roomate?

    • Dr. Zambrano says:

      You don’t ever have to tell anyone if you don’t want to. The only reasons you might choose to is if you’re worried about what they might think. In this case, perhaps having a good explanation can help. You can be as detailed as “I have Tourette’s” or you can just explain that its a ‘habit’, you can’t help it, and you’d prefer people just ignore it. The only reason to share it with a professor is if you think your TS can impact in class functioning. If that’s the case you could discuss accommodations with your professor.