|EDUCATION QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Q. I am a parent of a child with Tourette. I have been very frustrated with the schools regarding my son being bullied and harassed. I called and complained to the school but was told to get the doctor to increase his medication and maybe then the other kids won’t pick on him so much. They also said that my son needs to learn how to control some of his tics and that he is using his TS as an excuse for not taking responsibility for his actions. They tell him that he can control them if he wanted to. This upsets my son which makes his Tourette worse. I know that there are laws to protect children with disabilities but if no one enforces the laws, they don’t help anyone.
A. I am saddened to hear that an educator is putting the blame on your son with TS, instead of educating himself and the entire school about TS. You are correct that while there are laws regarding bullying, students across the country continue to be bullied and teased for their symptoms. In many cases, the school's attempts often do little to protect the student and unfortunately even sincere attempts on the part of the school are often ineffective or long lasting.
I am convinced that the answer to bullying of students with TS is not by way of legislation but by ‘normalizing’ TS just as other issues are becoming increasingly accepted as being ‘normal’. The best way to accomplish this is by educating everyone in and out of school about the complex symptoms of TS and that while they may appear to be purposeful, they are NOT.
On October 24th TSA and PACER will be providing a webinar for parents and professionals regarding bullying. I would suggest that every parent of a child with TS make their school aware of this webinar (registration details will be available soon on: http://www.tsa-usa.org/news/aheadlines.html).
Additionally, TSA provides free in-services to school districts-click here to read the current year program flyer; also, telephone conversations between Education Advisory Board members and a team of educators who have specific questions regarding TS and education may be arranged - click here to send an email to TSA's Education Advisory Board.
By educating teachers, the environment in the schools will be one of acceptance of TS symptoms. This will provide the foundation for the students to reject the bullies and support students with TS. Normalizing TS is the first step to preventing bullying. This can only be accomplished by first accepting that teachers are not trained to recognize TS symptoms and then providing them information from the TSA website. The 2 DVDs, “I Have TS but TS Doesn’t Have Me” - 5 minute clip with links to purchase information and free Teacher's Guide, and “TS in the Classroom, School, and Community” (FREE DVD and online viewing), along with the web article "Red Flags" are three popular resources for educators.
“Stand up for Tourette Syndrome” is a brief and excellent video for students that teaches the benefits of being leaders in the fight against bullying.
Additional TSA Bullying Prevention resources may be found at http://www.tsa-usa.org/aBullyingPrev/bullyingprevention_main.html
Ask the TSA Education Advisory Board a question about Education - all questions
will be answered.
- Section 504 - provision of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Federal Law) which prohibits recipients of federal funds from discrimination against persons with disabilities
Section 504 Plan - A legal document outlining accommodations and modifications provided by the school so that a child is not discriminated against.
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - Federal Law - stated purpose (in Section 1400 (d)(1)) is “…to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living” and “to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected….”
IDEA specifically includes Tourette Syndrome under the definition of Other Health Impairment (OHI)§300.8(c)(9)); the Department of Education explains why Tourette Syndrome is included under OHI:
"Discussion: ... we do believe that Tourette syndrome is commonly misunderstood to be a behavioral or emotional condition, rather than a neurological condition. Therefore, including Tourette syndrome in the definition of other health impairment may help correct the misperception of Tourette syndrome as a behavioral or conduct disorder and prevent the misdiagnosis of their needs.
Changes: We have added Tourette syndrome as an example of an acute or chronic health problem in §300.8(c)(9)(i)."
§300.8(c) "Definition of disability terms. The terms used in this definition of a child with a disability are defined as follows:
...(9) Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that:
(i) is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, and sickle cell anemia, and Tourette Syndrome; and
(ii) adversely affects a child's educational performance"
IDEA regulates Independent Education Programs (IEPs).
- IDEA Basics- audio and slides
- IEP (Individualized Education Program) - Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), designed for that student, and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP is developed by teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) documenting the specific supports school personnel will be provided to enable the child to meet individualized academic and functional goals.
- in our online store - IEP Essentials for Parents - Publication #E128 (or downloadable E128DD) - Explains the basics of the IEP including what it is, the steps
to obtain one, the formal meeting process, eligibility, and developing an IEP.
- Understanding Assessments & Evaluations - audio and slides
- IEE (Independent Educational Evaluations) - audio and slides
- LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) - students with disabilities must be educated with non-disabled peers, to the greatest extent appropriate - audio and slides
- F.A.P.E. - Section 504 and the IDEA require that a Free and Appropriate Public Education be provided to all eligible students who attend school which receives funds from the US Dept. of Education.
- FERPA - Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. A Federal statute with the purposes of ensuring that parents have access to their children's education records, and to protect the rights of children and parents by limiting access to these records without parental consent, and to manage misleading or incorrect information.
- Red Flags - article
- Understanding Behavioral Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome- article
- Educator's Guide for Developing IEP and 504 Plans for Students with Tourette Syndrome - article
- Classroom Strategies, Accommodations and Modifications for Students with
Tourette Syndrome - publication #E115b available in our online store for a nominal charge
- Vocal Tics in the Classroom - an Educator's Guide- Webinar - slides, audio, downloads
- Handwriting Issues - article
- A Guide for Paraprofessionals - article
- Tourette Syndrome InService - developed so that anyone can make a presentation about TS
and related issues - slides, videos, downloads, and a video about how to present - view online or ORDER FREE DVD
- Tourette Syndrome in the Classroom, School and Community - Seminar for educators - filmed at an all-day live presentation by members of the TSA Education Committee - addresses a wide range of essential topics. View online and/or order free DVD.
- Online Video "Stand Up for Tourette Syndrome"
Short video (3 min., 39 sec.) in which school kids STAND UP for TOURETTE SYNDROME by helping Luke, a young boy with TS explain his TS to a group of kids who have been acting really mean to him - video is downloadable as is a Teachers' Guide - click here.
- DVD with Teacher's Resources:
HBO Documentary, I Have Tourette's But Tourette's Doesn't Have Me.
The DVD features content shown on the HBO broadcast plus a variety of resources for educators, families, and children interested in learning more about Tourette Syndrome, and supplementary information from experts John Walkup, M.D., Susan Conners, M.Ed., and Evan Trost, M.D. DVD available through our online store (#DVD-13M, DVD-13NM, DVD-13V).
Free Teacher's Guide - Click here to View or Download
- Book with Teacher's Resources:
In this novel, Carrie, a seventh-grade girl has just been diagnosed with TS. Targeted to early teens, Quit It explores Carrie's struggles to cope with TS while trying to fit in with her peers. Available in our online store (C100M, C100NM).
Free School Reading Program and Sample Lesson Plan Using Quit It. Click here.
- School-Based Educator/Clinician Programs
TSA offers programs to special education directors, IEP team chairpersons, regular and special education teachers, school psychologists and social workers, school nurses, paraprofessionals, speech therapists, occupational therapists in professional association, conference, and university settings. Presentations are given on Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders; attendees receive course materials and may receive CEU Approved Credit if available (click here for program details and contact information).
- in our online store - A Workbook for Conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment and Writing
a Positive Behavior Intervention Plan for a Student with Tourette Syndrome - Publication #E126 - Practical guide and valuable resource to address complex behavioral issues. Includes Overview of Functional Behavioral Assessments, FBA Worksheets, Positive Behavior Interventions.
SELECTED ADDITIONAL RESOURCES