Coexisting Conditions

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a complex condition, and it rarely comes alone. We have compiled some basic information on the most common co-occurring conditions below.

 

For information on how these conditions may present when combined with Tourette’s, and how to manage this, please get in touch through our social media pages or the contact form on the website.

For information on OCD and other mental health conditions, please see our Associated Mental Health Issues page.

For more in-depth information on any of the co-occurring conditions listed, we have compiled a list of useful websites for the Scottish or UK charities who specialise in each condition. Please see our external links page for details.

ADHD/ADD

ADHD is a neuro-developmental disorder which interferes with the way a child develops in, and interacts with, his or her environment. It's a long-term disorder which, in most cases, persists into adulthood. ADHD is characterised by 3 groups of symptoms:
 

Inattention - People with ADHD have a short attention span. They find it hard to concentrate and are easily distracted - they may be very sensitive to small sounds and sights which others would not notice. They may quickly forget instructions, especially if given a lot to take in at once. They also find it hard to organise themselves and often lose things.
 

Impulsiveness - People with ADHD sometimes act without thinking through the consequences. They find it hard to wait their turn and may interrupt others. Children with ADHD are often described as fearless but sometimes this means taking risks or doing things which are not wise.
 

Hyperactivity - People with ADHD are restless and find it hard to sit still or do one thing for very long. They need to move about and may fidget. ADHD is associated with getting to sleep and staying asleep. 

ADD 

People with ADD (without the hyperactivity component) may appear to be bored or disinterested in classroom/workplace activities. They may be prone to daydreaming or forgetfulness, work at a slow pace, and turn in incomplete work. 

Their work may look disorganized as well as their desks and locker spaces. They may lose materials at school/work and at home or misplace work and fail to turn in assignments. This can frustrate teachers/team leaders and parents and result in the child earning poor marks in class or under-performing at work.

(Ref: Scottish ADHD Coalition and Very Well Mind)

Autism

Autism is a lifelong, developmental condition that affects the way a person communicates, interacts, and processes information.  

The autism spectrum refers to the range of ways the condition can present in the individual which can vary significantly from person to person and throughout their life. While some people will have more subtle difficulties, others will have complex needs requiring more intensive support.

The behaviours and challenges typically associated with autism are often because of differences in thinking and processing information. It is through a deep understanding of the impacts of these different thinking styles that we can develop approaches and strategies which allow autistic people to better understand and contribute to the world around them. 

Research into autism over the decades has developed from early ideas that the condition was caused by certain parenting styles (thankfully now generally refuted) (Jordan, 1999). Today there is a widely held understanding that autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a biological basis. In addition, there is convincing evidence for a genetic component (Medical Research Council, 2001).   

(Ref: Scottish Autism)

Sensory Processing Difficulties

We all receive and process sensory information continuously throughout the day. For most people this is not a problem but for some children this can cause difficulties with behaviour and concentration, as well as carrying out everyday activities. 

  

Each of the sensory systems is responsible for providing us with information about the world around us. Sometimes these systems work too well and too much information is taken in, overwhelming the child and making them avoid certain situations (e.g. covering ears when sounds are too loud). Sometimes they don’t work as well as they should and in those cases the child is likely to seek more of the sensation (e.g. spinning round and round to feel the movement). Here are the sensory systems which can be affected:
         

  • Auditory Processing (how we hear sound) 

  • Tactile processing (how we experience touch) 

  • Vestibular processing (how we feel movement) 

  • Proprioception (our body awareness) 

  • Visual processing (how we see things) 

  • Gustatory processing (our sense of taste) 

  • Olfactory processing (our sense of smell)
     

How we process sensory information affects how we are able to participate in everyday task and activities. For your child this can mean problems paying attention in class or problems coping with things like getting his hair cut etc.

(Ref: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde)

Specific Learning Difficulties

Dyslexia

Dyslexia can be described as a continuum of difficulties in learning to read, write and/or spell. Dyslexia is a learning ‘difference’, which means that the brain can approach things in a different way to other people. Dyslexia can affect the way people communicate and is different for everyone. It is not just about reading and writing, and it has nothing to do with intelligence.

Unidentified, dyslexia can result in low self-esteem, stress, behavioural problems, and underachievement. But with the right support, children and adults with dyslexia can reach their potential. Learners with dyslexia will benefit from early identification, appropriate intervention and targeted effective teaching. Adults with dyslexia will benefit from reasonable adjustments in the workplace such as using assistive technology. 

Dyscalculia

In general, people with dyscalculia have poor ‘number sense’. Number sense is an intuitive understanding of how numbers work. Number sense is at the core of maths learning. In a similar way that a lack of phonemic awareness causes people with dyslexia to struggle with reading, a lack of number sense causes people with dyscalculia to struggle with maths concepts. If individuals don’t understand the basics about how numbers work, learning maths and using it every day can be very frustrating.

Dyspraxia / DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder)

Dyspraxia, a form of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination, in children and adults. While DCD is often regarded as an umbrella term to cover motor coordination difficulties, dyspraxia refers to those people who have additional problems planning, organising and carrying out movements in the right order in everyday situations. Dyspraxia can also affect articulation and speech, perception and thought.

Developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD), also known as dyspraxia, is a condition affecting physical co-ordination. It causes a child to perform less well than expected in daily activities for their age and appear to move clumsily. 

DCD is thought to be around 3 or 4 times more common in boys than girls, and the condition sometimes runs in families. 

Early developmental milestones of crawling, walking, self-feeding and dressing may be delayed in young children with DCD. Drawing, writing and performance in sports are also usually behind what is expected for their age. 

Although signs of the condition are present from an early age, children vary widely in their rate of development. This means a definite diagnosis of DCD does not usually happen until a child with the condition is 5 years old or more.

(Ref: NHS UK, Dyspraxia Foundation, Dyslexia Scotland)

Sleep Challenges

Sleep is now widely recognised as fundamental to the general health and wellbeing of everyone. But it’s especially important for children and teenagers – research has linked lack of sleep and poor sleep-quality to impaired learning, obesity, depression and many other mental health conditions.

As well as these health implications, there are strong indications that sleep deprivation affects memory consolidation and, as a result, the ability to retain information – a major drawback for any child or teenager at school. 

  

(Ref: Sleep Scotland)

Hypermobility

Hypermobility is the term used to describe the ability to move joints beyond the normal range of movement. Joint hypermobility is common in the general population. It may be present in just a few joints or it may be widespread. It is most common in childhood and adolescence, in females, and Asian and Afro-Caribbean races. It tends to lessen with age. In many people joint hypermobility is of no medical consequence and commonly does not give rise to symptoms. Hypermobility can even be considered an advantage, for example athletes, gymnasts, dancers and musicians might specifically be selected because of their extra range of movement.

For a small percentage of the population, instead of being advantageous, hypermobility may be associated with joint and ligament injuries, pain, fatigue and other symptoms. 

  

(Ref: Hypermobility Syndromes Association)