Can toddlers have Tourette’s?

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Please note: Articles on lived experiences can be a trigger for those with tics, OCD and anxiety disorders. Articles are intended to show we aren’t alone, and that help can improve quality of life.

Toddlers can show signs of Tourette syndrome. Tics tend to develop a few years later, but have been known to start as early as two years of age.


Toddlers begin to be more self aware and active. They start to speak, walk and show more curiosity.

It is no surprise that tics would be much easier to spot at this age.

This post refers to children between the ages of 1-3 years.

Toddlers are still learning to understand themselves and their surroundings. They move a lot and are prone to making sudden movements and lose balance.

This can make normal behaviours look like tics, but also disguise tics if there are any.

Tics develop between the ages of 2-18

The NHS provides the following sentence on the development of tics:

They’re fairly common in childhood and typically first appear at around 5 years of age.”

Although this succeeds toddler age, this is just an average.

Mayo Clinic states that:

Tics typically show up between ages 2 and 15, with the average being around 6 years of age.”

Tics can appear as early as two years of age, meaning that many people with Tourette would have began displaying tics as a toddler.

Not all tics are Tourette's, or a tic disorder

Tourette is name given to the most severe form of tic disorder, and not all tics are the result of Tourette syndrome.

It is possible that tic-like sounds and movements are a result of another condition entirely.

If you suspect that a toddler may have tics, it is important to see a specialist about it. They can diagnose and provide the next steps.

A Tourette diagnosis isn't all bad news

For many people, tics subside into adulthood. For some they remain, but only rarely do they get worse.

More and more treatments, medication and therapies are providing relief for children with tics, not to mention the increase in support groups, social media accounts and overall awareness.

The best thing to do if you believe a child is showing signs of stress, discomfort or a disorder, is to seek advice from a professional.

This will give the child the best possible start to life and the understanding they need growing up.

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DISCLAIMER: Articles contain lived experiences, but cannot be used to diagnose. Medical advice can only come from trained professionals. 

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