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Behavior & Sensory Support

What you need to know

Girls may have subtle difficulties in behavior function. These can include difficulties in:

  • Nonverbal skills
  • Slowed response times
  • Increased rates of attention deficit disorder
  • Increased risk for social isolation
  • Maturity
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Higher rate of ADD

Although this is not definitive, some researchers suggest that a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is more common among girls with TS.

Shyness, social anxiety, and reduced self-esteem
  • May be related to diffences in sexual development
    • For example, may be receiving hormone therapy
  • May have more immature behavior
  • May have difficulty concentrating
  • May be over active
  • May experience anxiety or depressionl
  • May feel self-conscious and embarrassed about their condition
    • Body image may be affected
    • May withdraw socially 
Problems with social relationships
  • May be related to spatial understanding
    • May be rigid and inflexible with regard to behavior of others
    • May invade personal space
    • May not be able to understand the effects on others of things they may have said/done
    • Struggle with order in environment and may try to maintain rigid and inflexible order
  • May be related to NLD (nonverbal learning disorder) (link coming soon)
  • Tend to begin dating and sexual activity at a later age than other girls 

What you can do

Social skills
  • Help girls with TS practice situations that feel uncomfortable in public and help them try out ways of dealing with them.
    • Teach stress reduction techniques
  • Simple things like ordering food in a restaurant or asking for help in a department store may be intimidating.
    • Practice these skills at home
      • Observe/talk about other children and adults in the same situations.
    • Dress according to age rather than size.
      • This may mean having clothes altered or sew on own.
    • Encourage development of skills that allow for social interaction and competition with a variety of other children.
    • Teach “rules of play”
      • Taking turns
      • Sharing
    • Social space
    • Eye contact
    • Teach how to read facial features and other social cues.
  • Help the child understand the effect her behavior has on others
    • Role play
Working and playing with others
  • There are many activities that help children develop skills and learn to work and play with others.
    • Music
    • Drama
    • Dance
    • Singing
    • 4H clubs
    • Scouting
    • Sports
  • Maintaining and making new friends
    • Social interactions with new or established friends can start with more structure and one-on-one play
  • Peer pressure
    • Teachers and parents can be more aware of interactions between students and try to support social skill development
  • Bullying
    • There are anti-bullying programs in many school districts and many schools have provisions in their codes of conduct about bullying and its consequences.
    • Talk to the child if you think that she is being bullied at school and intervene, if necessary.
    • Teasing may be misunderstood and taken more seriously than intended so adults can help clarify.
    • Stop the bullying before it gets worse.
Adapting to new situations
  • Go to the new environment beforehand and walk through it
  • Provide a list of activities that will occur
    • Helps her feel prepared
Anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression may be seen in those with NLD. To deal with these major issues, here are some tips for coping at home and at school:

  • Exercise regularly with a set routine
  • Learn relaxation techniques
  • Establish a regular sleep schedule
  • Schedule “down” time
  • Eat healthy
  • Have a support network available that can help
  • Learn time management and organizational skills
  • Use praise 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy or mindfulness techniques can help with depression issues as can talking to a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist