A County Durham mum is calling on the government to offer more support after her son's Tourette's diagnosis saw her seek private care to help his condition. 

Samantha Laverick, 37, from Stanley, believes the government should have a commissioned service for Tourette’s support and counselling after her family were “pushed towards charities” to seek care and advice after her son was diagnosed.

Ryan, aged 10, started displaying tics when he was five after his teacher noticed he was “blinking at certain times”.

Initially, he was believed to be “nervous” and mum Samantha thought after doctors’ appointments these tics would phase out as he grew older.

But, after Ryan’s tics intensified and were “constant” until he went to bed at night, an assessment by a paediatrician confirmed that he had Tourette's syndrome.

Following diagnosis, he was offered a handful of counselling sessions - but the Laverick family say they have been offered no support since and were left to pay for private care.

Samantha said: “From there, that was it. We got a diagnosis and were put in touch with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) who gave him access to a handful of sessions but nothing else. We felt lost.

“There were exercises to help him understand his emotions and behaviour but nothing that was Tourette’s specific.”

In the years following his diagnosis, Samantha says Ryan’s tics became more noticeable and were not things he could “pass off” and he was “struggling to deal with it”.

Ryan is now still struggling to attend school due to his tics, coupled with the fact he “doesn’t want to do them in front of people”.

If he did attend school, mum Samantha says he would come home unhappy, saying he had a bad day.

She said: “Obviously, we don’t want him to lose out on his education, but what education has he got if he has gone to school and is doing his tics constantly?

“All he would have done is feel embarrassed all day and not take anything in.”

Samantha added: “At the time we needed somebody who could help him deal with his Tourette’s, deal with the condition.

“You need somebody who understands it, who understands Tourette’s to help him deal with what he is going through.

“In this area, you get diagnosed and there is no more support.”

But, since seeking private care, the family say they have seen “some progress” with Ryan who is now “more accepting” of his condition.

Ryan’s school has also been willing to help but mum Samantha believes nobody knows what to do for the best as there is no clear NHS guidance.

Currently, NHS guidance on Tourette’s, available on the service's website, outlines its causes as well as behavioural therapy and medication.

However, for further help and support the only link available is to the charity Tourettes Action.

Samantha added: “The counselling we have paid for has been working with him to try and figure out what triggers his tics, and what makes them worse.

“They also work with him on feeling when his tics are coming on and teach him how to do a tic that is perhaps not as noticeable.

“Since he’s been having these sessions, he seems to be a lot more accepting about it all.”

Now, she’s calling on the government to create a service in the NHS to offer these services, which she has had to pay for privately, to anyone who is diagnosed with Tourette’s.

She said: “We need a commissioned service which you can be referred to that will work with you, offering not just counselling but therapy too.


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“All children are different, and some need counselling, others may need therapy or medication.”

“I did not think it would be this way – I thought nowadays we would be a lot more accepting and tolerant and we as a family would be further along than where we are now.”

Samantha is now organising meetings for the end of the month with her MP, Kevan Jones and the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB).