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Impact of Tourette Syndrome on School Measures in a Nationally Representative Sample

Claussen, Angelika, H.*; Bitsko, Rebecca, H.*; Holbrook, Joseph, R.*; Bloomfield, Jeanette*; Giordano, Kathy

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: February 13, 2018 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000550
Original Article: PDF Only

Objective: Children with Tourette syndrome (TS) are at risk for a variety of co-occurring conditions and learning and school problems. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of TS and co-occurring conditions on school measures.

Methods: Parent-reported data from the 2007–2008 and 2011–2012 National Survey of Children's Health were combined (n = 129,353 children aged 6–17 yrs). Parent report of health care provider diagnosis of TS; co-occurring mental, emotional, and behavioral conditions; learning and language conditions; and school measures were assessed. School measures included type of school, individual education plan (IEP), number of school days missed, school problems, doing well in school, doing homework, and repeating a grade. Children with TS were compared with those who never had TS on school measures accounting for co-occurring conditions.

Results: After adjusting for demographics, compared with children without TS, children currently with TS were more likely to have an IEP, have a parent contacted about school problems, and not complete homework. After further adjusting for co-occurring conditions, only IEP status remained statistically significant. Compared with children with mild TS, children with moderate or severe TS were more likely to have an IEP, repeat a grade, encounter school problems, and not care about doing well in school.

Conclusion: Tourette syndrome severity and co-occurring conditions are associated with school challenges and educational service needs. Awareness among health care providers, teachers and parents of the potential challenges related to both TS and co-occurring conditions would help to best support the child's education.

*Division of Human Development and Disabilities, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA;

Tourette Association of America, Bayside, NY.

Address for reprints: Angelika H. Claussen, PhD, NCBDDD, 4770 Buford Highway, MS E-88, Atlanta, GA 30341; e-mail:

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Received June , 2017

Accepted December , 2017

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