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Tourette Syndrome training for teachers

A study led by IMH Professor Georgina Jackson has given a unique insight into the impact of Tourette Syndrome (TS) on school children. Commissioned by the national charity Tourettes Action, the study is using the powerful words of young people with TS to train teachers on how to recognise and respond to the condition.
Professor Jackson said: "This study is the first to address the experiences of young people with TS from their own point of view. TS is often seen purely in terms of the tics that affect many with the condition but for these children there is often an awful lot going on inside their heads too, often related to anxiety over how to control their visible symptoms."

The challenges more frequently reported by the young people in the study were problems concentrating in class, unhelpful responses by school staff and teasing and bullying by other students. These results have been used to devise a new training package for secondary schools, which covers the basics of TS, its symptoms and how it's diagnosed as well as common misconceptions. Crucially it also offers practical guidance to staff on supporting pupils.

Professor Jackson and colleagues have delivered the training package to around 80 school staff to-date and are currently recruiting more schools interested in taking advantage of the resource. It will also be used by Tourettes Action to update the information materials on their website which are aimed at children, their families and their teaching staff.

Following a University of Nottingham press release, news of the study was picked up by a number of local and national media outlets, including the Science Daily website, SEN magazine, radio station Capital FM and The Guardian newspaper.