March 3, 2017, 11:54 PM
Managing Echolalia at School
Yesterday my son (8th grade) experienced some echolalia and echopraxia at school. His German teacher showed a video about being German, and for some reason, maybe to be honest and include a tiny bit of history, the video included a short clip of Hitler giving a rousing speech and the huge crowd shouting "Sig heil!". So here comes the kid with the Tourette's (my son), repeating the gesture and the phrase. He didn't shout it, but the teacher reacted as though someone had just slapped her. I do understand her reaction -- she was partly raised in Germany, and I do understand that many modern-day Germans experience an intense negative reaction to such things. My spouse is German and I'm Jewish. So these are things we've talked about. My son couldn't be farther, politically, from being a neo-Nazi. He just has tics.
His teacher has supposedly viewed a Tourette in the Classroom training webinar. I think she just didn't have a chance to think before she reacted ("Never, never say that!!").
I do kind of wonder why she showed that particular video.... But I didn't include my musing in my email to her. I just expressed regret for what had happened, and explained echolalia and echopraxia, and attached my new favorite Tourette flyer (from the UK):
By the way, I don't think there's much my son could have done to prevent it. He didn't see it coming.
It seems like this is one of those situations where adjusting the environment would be the most helpful thing. If the teacher has some particular educational reason for showing it, it would be helpful to provide a calm explanation ahead of time. I think that anything that can lower the emotional tone can help. The more surprised or emotionally stimulated my son is, the more prone he is to vocal tics.
My son has more vocal tics than movement tics. I find that the vocal tics are harder for the teachers to understand.
I would have thought the ones that don't get repeated much, or that don't get repeated at all, would be harder for the teachers to recognize as tics. But the truth is that they don't figure out the very repetitive ones either.
We're working on getting better participation rates with the training.
Last edited by aparente001; March 4, 2017 at 12:00 AM.