British Teachers’ knowledge and awareness of Tourette Syndrome in children attending mainstream school
Mainstream primary and secondary schools are increasingly committed to the inclusion of students with Tourette Syndrome (TS). This qualitative study explores teachers' perceptions of factors that have contributed to, or hindered, their success in creating an inclusive environment for children with Tourette Syndrome (TS). Eight teachers (2 males, 6 females) from mainstream primary and secondary schools in the United Kingdom (UK) took part in semi-structured interviews to ascertain their knowledge, training and experience of TS during their professional careers in the UK. Thematic analysis of the transcripts revealed three main themes: Teachers’ lack of real knowledge and awareness of Tourette Syndrome; Training provision and marginalisation of Tourette Syndrome; and finding solutions and building alliances. While many of the teachers described their mainstream school as an inclusive environment, many still believed they lacked the professional training to adequately understand the disorder. By enhancing teacher training related to TS, improvements may be seen in the communications between the teachers and parents, and opportunities to educate children and the wider community will also result in a more inclusive environment, reducing specific and generic stressors for children with TS.