Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Review - Tourette Syndrome


Tourette Syndrome (USA Today Health Reports: Diseases and Disorders)

By: Marlene Targ Brill
Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books
Publication Date: January 2012
ISBN: 978-0761381440
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 2012

Caroline often got upset when her Tourette Syndrome tics were noticeable because she felt “like the odd person, different from everybody.” Tourette Syndrome, which is commonly called Tourette’s Syndrome or TS, has been a challenge for her, especially in the school setting. Caroline’s odd clicking noises, head jerking, and quirky mouth movements were something she couldn’t hide, but eventually she learned to deal with them. People like Caroline who are afflicted with this neurological disorder “make movements and sounds, called tics, that are beyond their control.”

Tics in school children are not uncommon and it has been estimated that “almost 25 percent of school-aged children display” them. For most children the tics they have are not problematic, but for those like Caroline who have TS they are. When these tics occur, “the brain tells one or more muscles to contract, causing unwanted sounds or movement,” sometimes without any warning.” There are two kinds of motor tics, simple and complex. In this book you’ll learn the difference between them and will learn about the severity, the frequency of occurrence, and common types of tics.

Tourette Syndrome is not easily diagnosed because there aren’t any specific tests for it nor any “diagnostic guidelines.” Once TS is diagnosed, often there is a “greater likelihood of also having something else” such as obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sleep disorders, learning disabilities, or conduct problems, all of which are discussed in this book. You’ll also read about the history of Tourette Syndrome, recent forays into research, a genetic overview, medications (including those for related disorders), alternative treatments, professional therapy, how families can help (including siblings), how to get help from outside sources, and you’ll learn many other interesting facts about TS.

TS is a disorder that is often misunderstood, one in which people tend to shy away from the afflicted. One sentence that stood out stated: “The most well-known symptom of TS is coprolalic--cursing or saying inappropriate words or phrases,” when in fact most people have mild TS. The author does not minimize the seriousness of the disorder, but helps us understand what it is all about from the simple to the scientific point of view. Once a young reader understands TS, the likelihood will be that they will also accept it. 

There are several stories of teens who discuss their journey with TS and how they’ve struggled with it.
There are numerous informative sidebars, including period USA Today articles, charts, artistic renditions, and photographs. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a list of related organizations, source notes, a selected bibliography, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore. They include information for students, siblings, parents, educators, and adult readers. There are complementary educational resources on the publisher’s website.

Quill says: This is an excellent overview of Tourette Syndrome (TS) and how you can “help yourself, a friend, or family member live and thrive” with it.