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TSA offers this material to help students, parents, families, educators, clinicians,
and others understand Tourette Syndrome in the classroom and school, to
promote optimal teaching and learning, end stigma and promote acceptance of students with TS.


Q. I attended a meeting for my son yesterday and came out of it so frustrated. I would like your input and knowledge about my situation. He had an IEP assessment done in 2013 and was approved for an IEP. At the time I was made to believe that if an IEP was approved that he would be pulled from main classes and put into special Ed classes. I felt socially this would cause damage and not help the situation. I voiced this and the school psychologist told me about 504 Plans and thought that for now, this would be a better fit. The school psychologist advised me that at ANY Time I could change this for an IEP. At another meeting I was told that since I chose the 504 plan, I waived all rights to IEP. Also since his IEP was over a year ago we would need to start the long process of IEP testing again. I am so frustrated and I don’t want to go back and start all over again.  By the time the testing is completed, then meet to discuss the results, meet again to write an IEP again we will only have a couple months of school left. Is there anything I can do?

An IEP provides special education and related services and does not automatically require moving a student from his/her current placement.  Most often students with TS who have IEPs receive services while remaining in the general education setting.

504 Plans that provide modifications and accommodations may be sufficient for a student with TS.  The school psychologist was correct in telling you that at any time a parent may request, in writing, an IEP meeting.  You will want to include in your letter the reason you are requesting another IEP meeting.  For example:
  • Concerns that continue to be interfering with your son’s education progress
  • New Information or concerns from teachers/parents
  • New information from doctor, evaluations
  • In your situation, you may want to indicate in your request letter that the primary reason you agreed to a 504 Plan instead of the IEP for which it was determined he was eligible, was your misunderstanding that an IEP would require him to be placed in a setting that is not appropriate. 
You may want to review the information on the TSA website Education section (http://tsa-usa.org/Education/education_main.htm) – and IEP Essentials for Parents (publication #E128/#E128DD available for $4 at TSA’s on-line store, http://store.tsa-usa.org/education.html).  Additionally, there are brief  audio presentations with slides which may be helpful. They include Overview of Education Rights Parents, a 5 part Education Advocacy series, Preparing For an IEP Meeting and others comparing 504 Plans and IEPs, understanding evaluations and more. - http://www.tsa-usa.org/Education/audio_presentTSA.htm
Since your son’s last evaluation was provided less than 3 years ago, that evaluation may continue to be valid. You or the school may, however, wish to have some additional testing to demonstrate specifically why he needs an IEP.  For example an evaluation may need to include executive function skills, working memory, pragmatic language, sensory integration, etc.  You may want to read the articles "Red Flags” (http://tsa-usa.org/Education/Red_Flags.htm) and “Understanding Behavioral Symptoms in Tourette: TS is More than Tics” (http://tsa-usa.org/Education/UnderstandingTSBehaviors.htm) for ideas about specific symptoms that may be negatively impacting your child’s education. 

As a general rule, when a parent is told something that doesn’t sound correct, you can politely request to see this in either the state or federal regulations. This would include being told that if your child is provided an IEP, this would require him being removed from general education setting.  The Federal IDEA makes it clear that special education is a philosophy and not a place and that an IEP provides special education and related services in the least restrictive environment which most often is the general education setting.  

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

  • 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)

  • Understanding Assessments & Evaluations - audio and slides

  • IEE (Independent Educational Evaluations) - audio and slides






  • 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.

  • Stand UpOnline 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.




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