TicTrainer web software for tic suppression training
What is it about?
This manuscript describes the software used to run TicTrainer, an online resource meant to help people build their ability to fight tics. It is designed to give points on the screen of a computer (or tablet or smart phone), with points building faster the longer someone suppresses tics. Another person on their own device watches for tics and taps a button to tell the computer when the tics occur.
Why is it important?
ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) is a method previously used to treat Tourette’s syndrome. The idea behind ERP is that by suppressing tics for a very long time, eventually the urge to tic will fade away. It is usually done with a trained psychologist over the course of about ten 90-minute behavior therapy sessions. ERP is not just an interesting idea, it works. ERP was compared to the best-proven behavior therapy for tics (CBIT) in a randomized controlled trial, and both were similarly effective. Unfortunately, although three fourths of parents would like behavior therapy available to their children with tics, many do not have access to an appropriately trained therapist. The hope with TicTrainer is that it can be useful to people who cannot easily get to such a therapist, like people we see from rural areas a couple of hundred miles from here. Other experts have built more complex systems (like the commercial site TicHelper.com). We are also interested from a scientific standpoint to know whether TicTrainer, which focuses only and directly on tic suppression, can be effective--i.e., can tic suppression training itself reproduce benefits of more complete therapy?
The following have contributed to this page: Dr Kevin J. Black
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