Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Expert Forum
Tourette's, tics, and obsessive thoughts (in Asperger's)
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Tourette's, tics, and obsessive thoughts (in Asperger's)

I am a special education teacher with a student with Asperger's. He has obsessive thoughts that frequently distract him from learning. Most of these are internet videos or video games that he is "playing" in his head. While he is having these thoughts, he has facial tics (blinks, twitches his face and head), vocal tics, (grunts, screeches) and sometimes sings the video game song, but in a jerky "ticky" manner.

He has not been diagnosed with Tourette's.

I was researching Asperger's syndrome and ways to help eliviate these thoughts so that he can work, but it lead me to information on Tourette's.

Here are my questions: In Tourette's, can/do the motor and vocal tics happen during a  time of obsessive thinking? I know they are "random and involuntary" but can they happen when the student is frustrated, etc?

I do not plan to "diagnose" but I would like to get a better idea of Tourettes so I can "teach to the symptoms."

Please let me know any information on how these syndromes work together. Thank you!
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Tourette's syndrome belonge to a spectrum consisting of different compulsive behavior and so may be seen as a type of compulsive disorder. Other disorders belonging here are such as OCD and Impulse control disorders. The tics are such more an irrestible impulse to do an action more than the jerks that epilepsy and similar disorders cause. So yeah, it may absolute; and is in fact some sort of, obsessive thoughts.

That said, other conditions shall be ruled out also; in example daydreaming which is very common in Asperger and self stimulating repetitive behavior, also common in Asperger.
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Jason C Bourret, Ph.D., BCBA-DBlank
The New England Center for Children
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