La Tourette’s Syndrome

Tourette syndrome is a relatively rare neuropsychiatric disorder than causes its sufferers to experience physical and phonic tics.  Tics are involuntary movements of specific muscle groups.  It is thought to have a hereditary component, and typically begins in childhood.  It can cause its suffers to move in ways they do not intend to move and to say things or make noises that they do not intend to make.  For these reason, it can cause a person extreme limitations in social functioning.  However, the severity of the condition can vary greatly from mild to severe.  Also, it is common for this condition to improve with age.  Because the severity varies greatly, it is often difficult to prove that an adult person has limitations of function that are serious enough to prevent all work.  In order to prove limitations of function that are severe enough to disabled a person continuing into adulthood, we must have statement from doctors and people who interact with you in your daily life attesting to the interruptions in your daily activities that your Tourette syndrome causes.  Most times it is a person’s comorbid mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, that will be severe enough to qualify for disability.  (Medical conditions are comorbid if they exist at the same time and are related to each other but not the same).  If you have a comorbid mental health condition, it is critical that you are in regular treatment with a mental health care provider for that condition.  Mental health care treatment might assist you in coping with your condition, but a mental health care provider is also a valuable witness who can attest to the frequency and severity of your tics.  What we need in a case like this is witnesses, as many as possible.

It is interesting to note that people who suffer from Tourette syndrome tend to excel more than others in many kinds of activities.  Therefore, its suffers do not always consider themselves to have a disability but rather an advantage.