Programs & Services
Tourette & Tic Disorders Clinic
The Tic and Tourette Syndrome Program at Phoenix Children’s Barrow Neurological Institute works with children of all ages, including adolescents who are transitioning to adult care. We treat Tourette syndrome, tic disorders and related conditions that may occur with or worsen symptoms.
Evaluation and Diagnosis
Children are typically diagnosed during the elementary school years. Parents, teachers, or a child’s pediatrician or primary care provider may notice symptoms and refer your child for further evaluation by specialists. In addition to a pediatric movement disorders neurologist, your child may see a child psychiatrist or a pediatric mental health care provider.
Before diagnosing Tourette and tic disorders, our experts will observe your child’s behavior and review these and other considerations:
- Developmental problems
- Family health history
- Medical records
- Psychological and social behaviors and patterns
- School records and observations
- Symptoms, including type, degree and severity
Treatment of Tourette’s and tic disorders depends on a number of factors, including whether symptoms are affecting your child’s day-to-day life. Some children don’t require treatment for Tourette syndrome and tics. With a little support and guidance, many kids learn to adapt and function well at home and school.
Other children benefit from special classes, psychotherapy or medical treatment for more severe symptoms, learning disorders or other problems that interfere with daily life. Your doctors will evaluate your child and talk with you about areas of concern and how we can help.
Your child’s team may include a pediatric movement disorders neurologist and other fellowship-trained doctors. Our Complex Tourette Syndrome Clinic combines resources and expertise across advanced medical disciplines, including:
Behavioral Intervention for Tics
Comprehensive behavioral intervention for tics (CBIT) is an evidence-based habit-reversal therapy.
Your child may need medication if certain other conditions are a problem, such as behavioral and emotional struggles, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or a mood disorder. Your child’s healthcare providers will talk with you about types of medical therapies available, including the risks, benefits and possible side effects of each.
For certain more severe conditions, doctors may discuss surgical treatment, such as deep brain stimulation (DBS). The highly skilled pediatric neurosurgeons at Phoenix Children’s treat a range of movement disorders using these and other surgical approaches.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect a child’s behavior and ability to focus. Symptoms of ADHD vary and may include hyperactivity, trouble paying attention and a tendency to act impulsively. Children with mild or severe symptoms may benefit from specialized evaluation in Phoenix Children’s ADHD Clinic.
Research and Innovation
As a Tourette’s Association of America Center of Excellence, we stay on the leading edge of research, scientific advances and practices that improve diagnosis and care, including ongoing clinical trials.
The Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s is nationally recognized for an ongoing commitment to improving the quality of life for children with Tourette’s and other tic disorders. Our shared goals include:
- Advancing Tourette syndrome care, research, education and training
- Advocacy and awareness for Tourette’s and tic disorders
- Collaborative partnerships and support from national and world leaders and networks
Researchers at Phoenix Children’s Barrow Neurological Institute partner with other academic and scientific leaders to investigate diverse areas of focus – from genetics and neuroimaging to brain and nervous system therapies. Some of our patients may qualify to participate in current clinical trials of promising therapies.
Resources and Support
Living with Tourette’s calls for learning new ways to manage everyday activities and interactions. Our care team helps your child learn coping strategies and more, with full support for your child and family.
Your child’s care at Phoenix Children’s gives you and your family access to a dedicated Tourette’s support group that meets at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and other resources. We also offer referrals to other support throughout our hospital and in the community.