How HANDLE can help with Tourette Syndrome

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. Associated conditions can include attentional problems (ADHD/ADD), impulsiveness (and oppositional defiant disorder), obsessional compulsive behavior (OCD), and learning disabilities.

The HANDLE Perspective

HANDLE views Tourette Syndrome as primarily an issue of overflow movement.  Throughout development the brain learns to turn off or inhibit movement.  While infants move their whole bodies almost totally reflexively, an older child and later an adult has learned to suppress these automatic, reflexive movements.  When the brain and body continue to move reflexively through adulthood we know the brain has more learning to do in the area of reflex integration and the organization of movement.

HANDLE Approach

HANDLE providers have identified a few areas that benefit from enhancement in clients diagnosed with TS or other tic disorders.  A provider will design a program to help with:

  • Light sensitivity and irregular dilation and contraction of the pupils

  • Eye teaming

  • Sense of rhythm

A HANDLE program includes specific activities that can regulate each of the above areas. As light sensitivity is reduced, organization of movement increases, and rhythm improves, stress decreases and tics may improve.

Many individuals with TS seem obsessed with or compulsive about details in their lives. As movement becomes more controlled and as rhythmic organization increases, most individuals find that this eases too. With increased ability to cope with stressors they no longer feel trapped in the repetitive behaviors.

Results You Might See

Many people who have used HANDLE to address TS see significant improvements of physical tics, vocal tics, and other uninhibited responses. As they continue in the program, they also experience greater mental organization.

"Last summer it seemed at times that not a minute would go by without our son having a facial tic or a head tic. Three weeks into the HANDLE program he was having only 1-2 tics per week. Now after 4 months on the program we rarely, if ever see one."

~ J. Janofsky, parent

The first step is getting in touch with a local HANDLE Provider, who will discuss your individual needs and how HANDLE could help.