Online program may help children and adults to better manage tics

Parents look at laptop with young daughter between them

Texas A&M researchers are developing an online self-help program to help people who struggle with tic disorders.

Douglas Woods, professor and head of Texas A&M’s Department of Psychology, is part of the team developing “TicHelper,” a computer program that helps children and adults recognize and manage their tics.

Tics are habitual spasmodic contractions of the muscles, well known in Tourette Syndrome patients, but can also be caused by a variety of ailments including epilepsy, thyroid disease, nervous system disorders and chemical poisoning.

TicHelper builds on an established treatment known as Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT).

“So we’ve taken CBIT and modified it to be an online self-help program,” Woods explains. “Not only does this mean more open access to treatment, we are also trying to help cut costs.” He says the eventual cost of TicHelper will likely be the same as one visit to a CBIT-trained therapist.

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