European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 18-23

First online:

Early-onset Tourette syndrome with reversible autistic behaviour: a dysmaturational disorder

  • M. ZappellaAffiliated withDivisione di Neuropsichiatria Infantile, Azienda Ospedaliera Senese, viale Bracci 1, 53100 Siena, Italy, E-Mail: M.Zappella@ao-siena.toscana.it

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Early-onset Tourette syndrome comorbid with reversible autistic behaviour is described in twelve young males. After a normal gestation, delivery and first-year development, regression set in between the age of one and two with loss of various abilities and the emergence of autistic behaviour. At this time, or slightly later, they showed multiple motor and vocal tics, simple and complex: the latter could also be traced to most of their parents. Following an intervention based on intense cuddling, motor activation and paedagogic guidance, these children's abilities rapidly improved, reaching at follow-up a normal or borderline intellectual functioning and with the disappearance of their initial autistic behaviour. At follow-up tics were present in all, usually with the features of a full-blown Tourette syndrome, often comorbid with ADHD, and in some cases with OCD.

Key words (CT) chronic tics – (TS) Tourette syndrome – (TD) tic disorder – (OCD) obsessive-compulsive disorder – (ADHD) attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder