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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tourette Syndrome: Common Assistive Technologies

This guide will provide resources on Tourette syndrome.

What are assistive technologies?

The Technology Related Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 described an assistive technology device as "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."

Assistive technologies can be "high tech" and "low tech:" from canes and lever doorknobs to voice recognition software and augmentative communication devices (speech generating devices).

Recording Devices

Recording devices can be useful for people with Tourette Syndrome in situations such as classes or work. Some physical tics might make it difficult to take notes and keep up with teachers or presentations. A recording device can allow a person with Tourette Syndrome to go over recorded moments with less pressure and more control.

Many smartphones have recording capabilities, but often the sound recordings are not high quality. Other options include:

Writing Help

Word processors and speech-to-text devices can aid individuals with physical tics that make it hard to write or hold on to a writing device. Many computers will come with free word processing applications, like Microsoft's WordPad and Apple's Pages. Some examples of software and standalone devices include:

Reading Help

People with Tourette Syndrome might find it difficult to read if they have a physical tic that prevents them from holding reading material or if they have visual tics that make it hard to focus on text. Audiobooks, scanning pens, and text-to-speech software can aid individuals with reading materials online or in print. Some options include:

  • Audiobooks are a great way to experience books if you have reading difficulties. Narrators read text aloud and the files are often available on CD and MP3. Libraries often provide access to audiobooks, both in physical formats like CDs and MP3 files. Audible is a company that produces audiobooks and is a fee-based option if you do not want to wait for library audiobooks to be available.

Employees with Tourette Syndrome

Finding Assistive Technology