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June 1996

School Problems in Tourette's Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology (Drs Abwender, Como, Kurlan, Parry, and Fett and Ms Deeley) and Division of Biostatistics (Mss Cui and Plumb), University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY.

Arch Neurol. 1996;53(6):509-511. doi:10.1001/archneur.1996.00550060051016

Background:  A retrospective study of 138 children with Tourette's syndrome for associated school problems revealed that at the time of initial evaluation, 64 subjects (46%) experienced a school-related problem.

Objective:  To survey a childhood population with Tourette's syndrome to explore the contributions of neurobehavioral concomitants to academic difficulties.

Results:  A diagnosis of a specific learning disorder had previously been made in 30 (22%) of 138 children. Among the 108 without a diagnosis of learning disorder, 36 (33%) experienced school difficulties defined as grade retention (16 [15%]) and/or special education placement (41 [38%]). Regression analysis of subjects without a diagnosis of learning disability revealed that the presence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder served as a significant predictor of school problems.

Conclusions:  Tics represented the primary reason for referral, but did not emerge as a significant predictor of academic problems. Rather, school-related difficulties appeared to be strongly associated with comorbid attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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