September 17, 2003
If you work with a child who’s been diagnosed with Tourette's, I have a few suggestions that may help. First, I would meet with the parents of this student to ask them your question about deflecting the onset of the behaviors. They may know the triggers. You may also ask them to sign a release of information form to enable you to speak with the child's physician. S/he may have advice as well. In terms of helping your class to deal with this child, I would again speak with the parents. Ask if they would feel comfortable having you talk with the class about the behaviors they may see in order to prepare them. Some families will agree to this. I once had a severe/profound student in my K class and the parents actually came in and spoke to my class. My last suggestion is modeling, modeling, modeling. I think this is probably the best thing you can do. The kids will follow your lead in terms of how to react. Kids can ignore and deal with more than we often give them credit for. I had a bipolar student one year who had major tantrums. The first few times these happened, all eyes were on me. I ignored the behavior (the strategy that had been agreed upon with the family) and they learned to do the same. They realized that if I wasn't upset, they shouldn't be.