Half of the family of six have Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder characterised by involuntary ‘tics’ and behavioural difficulties.
Dad Andrew Battley, 41, has the condition, along with his daughter Persephone, 10, and son Yves, four.
Wife Melanie Battley, 37, and son Xavier, eight, have not been diagnosed with Tourette’s, but find themselves inadvertently exhibiting the symptoms. Only daughter Epiphanie, six, remains unaffected.
Mrs Battley said the family’s physical tics can be set off by simple things.
“Persephone has problems sleeping. She gets anxious about going to bed,” Mrs Battley, from Cornwall in the UK, said.
“She thinks she won’t be able to sleep or that she won’t wake up, which sets off her tics. I can hear her from my bedroom. It’s horrible that she has these thoughts and we’re waiting for her to be referred to a sleep clinic.”
Mr Battley’s tics are triggered by his favourite action movies.
“It sounds like he’s blowing out through his nose, and people say to him, ‘Do you have a cold’ and ‘Do you need a tissue?’,” Mrs Battley, who works in the insurance industry, said.
“As a kid he was told to stop it and it was ingrained in him to hide his Tourette’s.”
While the Battleys, who have been married for 11 years, remind all their children of how special they are, they also try to spare them from potentially embarrassing situations.
“If we go out for a meal, I think what if our Tourette’s is bad and it feels awkward and people stare,” Mrs Battley said.