Coping with Coprolalia: Tourette Syndrome

Coprolalia Part 2: Coping With Coprolalia

Reduce Stress From Coprolalia

Tension can often get out of control in a home where coprolalia occurs.  There are not many people whose anxiety doesn’t rise exponentially when faced with loud, sometimes aggressive shouting of obscenities or unkind words.  Education, as above, will allow members of the family and those around the individual to understand coprolalia as a symptom of a neurological disorder and not a threat.  With this understanding there becomes a different perspective on the behaviour and acceptance and understanding of the individual will follow.  Reducing stress in the home will reduce stress to all members of the family.  Family members will no longer react with anger or fear.  The individual will no longer hyper focus on suppressing their symptoms, thus breaking a powerful positive reinforcement cycle.

Ignore symptoms of coprolalia.

The individual with coprolalia already knows that their behaviour is unacceptable and not the social norm.  In fact, the more unacceptable the behaviour the more driven the individual is to perform it.  Everyone in the family should know that the individual cannot help doing the behaviour and that it is a symptom of a neurological disorder.  Planned ignoring helps to relieve stress on the individual and and within the family.  The individual deserves a break and a comfortable place to relax and let their guard down.  It is very likely that the individual is exhausted from expending mental energy to suppress some or all of their symptoms while in public.  In school or in the workplace they are driven to be accepted and to fit in as best they can.   Give them a break at home for working so hard outside the home.
Here is an example of Planned Ignoring of Coprolalia  Caution:  Clip contains Coprolalia

Planned ignoring provides an environment where the behaviour is acceptable, reducing the urge to perform it  which is driven by the auto inhibitory mechanism that tells them “Do it!”  By allowing coprolalia, the tic is not reinforced and the person does not hyper-focus on the behaviour.  For the family, stress is also reduced.  Parents are no longer torn between accepting and punishing the behaviour.  Siblings are no longer fearful that their sibling is in trouble, and that mom and dad are going to be angry again.
This is not to say you must ignore all swearing or aggression in your home.  Every action, wanted or unwanted, uncontrollable or within control will have a consequence.  Your child should be held accountable for all behaviours.  (see: Be Accountable and Responsible below)
It remains unacceptable for another child without Tourette Syndrome to swear or copy the behaviour.  Tourette Syndrome is not contagious and neither is coprolalia.  If a child without Tourette parrots and then tries to justify with “But Johnny says it”, your response should be a negative consequence if it is within that child’s abilities to follow appropriate behaviour.  It also isn’t to say your child with Tourette Syndrome can just carry on swearing at will if the swearing voluntary it is not a symptom of their disorder.
If an individual has coprolalia it is their reality and will be a lifelong struggle.  How well they manage the symptom and how well they succeed will be determined on how empowered they feel about themselves.  Unconditional love and acceptance is paramount in nurturing a healthy human being.  In the home, ignore benign displays of coprolalia and nurture self-esteem while dealing with this problematic behaviour.  Less stress and less focus on the coprolalia will serve to give them more energy to apply other strategies to manage coprolalia.  Planned ignoring is not easy but keep in mind the benefits and energy you can use towards other useful strategies.
Now visit Coprolalia Part 3:  Taking Action on Coprolalia to see what you can do, besides sharing awareness, to lessen the impact of coprolalia.

For the complete documentary see:  Neurologically Gifted’s article,  Learning From Kids with Challenging Behaviour:  The First Day

For a full list of Neurologically Gifted’s articles:  CLICK HERE.

Promote understanding by educating others.  Promote tolerance through understanding.  Please share.

One thought on “Coprolalia Part 2: Coping With Coprolalia”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this information. As the mother of a child with TS who has coprolalia, I am thrilled and grateful for your generosity in sharing this part of your lives with the world. Your efforts will go a long way in promoting understanding and tolerance. Many thanks to you and your family for sharing!

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