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UAB, Children's Tourette Clinic Named National Tourette Syndrome Association Center of Excellence

BIRMINGHAM - An innovative clinic housed at Children’s of Alabama and associated with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has led to UAB and a consortium of Southern universities being named one of the 10 Tourette Syndrome Association Centers of Excellence by the Tourette Syndrome Association.

The Tourette Syndrome Association Centers of Excellence (CofE) designation is designed to increase awareness and understanding of Tourette Syndrome among community physicians, allied health professionals, patients, families and the general public. Tourette Syndrome is a neurological condition that causes people to make involuntary sounds and/or movements called tics.

UAB is part of a consortium that includes Emory University School of Medicine, the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Florida and the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. Patient care for the program is delivered at Children’s of Alabama  through its Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT) program under the care of Dr. Leon Dure, a professor of pediatric neurology at UAB and the William Bew White Jr., Chair of Pediatric Neurology at Children’s. CBIT is an innovative drug-free, behavioral-based approach for children coping with Tourette Syndrome or other tic disorders.

Through CBIT, children are taught to become more aware of their tics and trained to perform a competing behavior immediately when they feel the urge to tic. This competing response helps to reduce, and in some cases, eliminate the tic. These new strategies help the child manage his or her tic disorder with discretion and confidence.

Jan Rowe, Dr. OT, OTR/L, FAOTA, coordinates CBIT. She brought the program to Children's from UAB in 2013. Rowe is the first occupational therapist to coordinate a comprehensive behavioral intervention program for tic disorders and continues to train occupational therapists throughout the country to work with children who have Tourette Syndrome or tic disorders. Patients come from all over the country to participate in Rowe’s program at Children’s due to the limited availability of this therapy.

Studies show that up to one in 100 children in the United States have Tourette Syndrome or another tic disorder. Tics typically begin around age 6 and peak between 9 and 11 years. Previously the only treatment for tics was medication, which typically had poor results and negative side effects.


About the national Tourette Syndrome Association
Founded in 1972, the national Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) is the only national, voluntary health organization serving the Tourette Syndrome community. The TSA has a three-pronged mission to identify the cause of, control the effects of, and to find a cure for Tourette Syndrome through education, research and service. The TSA directs a network of 32 Chapters and more than 55 support groups across the country. For more information on TS, call 1-888-4-TOURET, visit, and on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact: Adam Kelley, Children’s of Alabama, 205-638-6660, or Bob Shepherd, UAB, 205-934-8934,