Tourette and Tic Disorders Program

The Tic and Tourette Syndrome Program at Phoenix Children’s Barrow Neurological Institute works with children of all ages, including adolescents who are transitioning to adult care. We treat Tourette syndrome, tic disorders and related conditions that may occur with or worsen symptoms.

National Recognition & Support

At Phoenix Children’s, your child never has to feel alone when coping with Tourette and tic disorders. Our designation as a Tourette Association of America Center of Excellence recognizes our consistently exceptional level of clinical care.

Evaluation and Diagnosis

Children are typically diagnosed during the elementary school years. Parents, teachers, or a child’s pediatrician or primary care provider may notice symptoms and refer your child for further evaluation by specialists.

Before diagnosing Tourette and tic disorders, our experts will observe your child’s behavior and review these and other considerations:

  • Developmental problems
  • Family health history
  • Medical records
  • Psychological and social behaviors and patterns
  • School records and observations
  • Symptoms, including type, degree and severity

Behavioral Intervention for Tics

Comprehensive behavioral intervention for tics (CBIT) is an evidence-based habit-reversal therapy. The aim of therapy is to decrease the severity and intensity of tics by targeting environmental factors know to impact tics.

Medical Therapies

Your child may need medication if certain other common associated conditions are a problem, such as behavioral and emotional struggles, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or a mood disorder. Your child’s healthcare providers will talk with you about types of medical therapies available, including the risks, benefits and possible side effects of each.

Surgical Therapies

For certain more severe conditions, doctors may discuss surgical treatment, such as deep brain stimulation (DBS). The highly skilled pediatric neurosurgeons at Phoenix Children’s treat a range of movement disorders using these and other surgical approaches.

ADHD Clinic

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect a child’s behavior and ability to focus. Symptoms of ADHD vary and may include hyperactivity, trouble paying attention and a tendency to act impulsively. Children with mild or severe symptoms may benefit from specialized evaluation in Phoenix Children’s ADHD Clinic.

Research and Innovation

As a Tourette’s Association of America Center of Excellence, we stay on the leading edge of research, scientific advances and practices that improve diagnosis and care, including ongoing clinical trials. 

The Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s is nationally recognized for an ongoing commitment to improving the quality of life for children with Tourette’s and other tic disorders. Our shared goals include:

  • Advancing Tourette syndrome care, research, education and training  
  • Advocacy and awareness for Tourette’s and tic disorders
  • Collaborative partnerships and support from national and world leaders and networks

Some of our patients may qualify to participate in current clinical trials of promising therapies.

Resources and Support

Living with Tourette’s calls for learning new ways to manage everyday activities and interactions. Our care team helps your child learn coping strategies and more, with full support for your child and family. We offer referrals to therapists and psychologists at Phoenix Children’s and within the community for children who are also in need of mental health services.

Your child’s care at Phoenix Children’s gives you and your family access to resources and a dedicated Tourette’s support group that meets at Phoenix Children’s Thomas Campus. We also offer referrals to other support throughout our health system and in the community. 

If you have questions regarding our services, we’re here to help. Please contact the Division of Neurology at 602-933-0970, Option 1. Nurses who work closely with our movement disorder neurologists are also available for question related to your child’s plan of care. 

You can learn more about Tourette syndrome and related conditions and topics in our online health library.