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Tics

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Tell me about your experience with them.  Do they come and go in your child?  Change over time?  Does anything seem to impact the frequency?

 

My DS has a host of learning, behavioral, emotional, and medical issues (thankfully none severe, but put all together it's a lot to deal with) including a new dx of asperger's, along with motor tics involving the upper body.  His other issues frankly make his life more challenging (as well as ours) and the tics are probably the least of his problems.  The other kids haven't said anything yet or made fun of him for it, although I'm sure that's coming in the future (he's 8 now).   

 

But for some reason, when his tics increase, my stress level about him and worry about his future increases, even though the tics themselves are supposedly harmless.  It's just an outward sign of his disabilities and differentness, which I can sort of forget about on a good day when he's happy and not ticcing.

 

And FTR, we had a full neuro exam by a ped neurologist and a dev. ped. and they both say there is nothing to be done about it and it's not connected to another disorder that they can tell.  For him there seems to be no correlation between the tics and stress, fatigue, etc- sometimes they are worse when he's happiest and most relaxed, and he can have none when he's under lots of stress.

 

So how do you deal with it emotionally?  At what age did your child become aware of it?  Do they eventually outgrow them?  Are there any efective alternative treatments? It is hard to watch my beloved child's body out of control, and not beat myself up about what I may have done during pregnancy, or by giving too many vaccines, to cause it.

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 29

Hi Awaken1  I have a wonderful DS who has had tics since age 4.  He is now 11 years old and being investigated for Asperger's; the previous DX was tics in the Tourettes spectrum with anxiety disorder and ADHD, inattentive type.

 

I'm hearing you about the increased worry over something relatively harmless - I hadn't been all that worried about tics, but then the teachers worried, so I wondered if I should worry, etc, etc.

 

Our experience with tics is that come and go, but not for more than two weeks.  Our child definitely became aware of them, but it's partly due to this awareness that the doctors are currently unsure whether this is an Asperger's symptom or a Tourette's symptom, so I can't be all that sure if this applies to your son.  We have been able to gently point out tics with no ill effects, and this may have increased his awareness, but in his case he gets worse if people harp on them.  (Matter of fact but non-judgemental works best).  Our son's tics did tend to not show a difference with stress when young, but did show a link with stress as he matured.  We found the physical tics ironed out somewhat the last two years, and the pediatrician and psychiatrist (he was seeing one due to significant anxiety problems) both told us that tics often make a turn for the better at roughly age 12. Even at age 11, he is not getting teased for tics, and the kids seem to think a lot less about them than adults.  Even the teenage babysitter or the adolescent sports coaches don't seem phased, it seems to be the adults that worry more. We had some luck with getting him to replace tics with another activity, like fiddling with silly putty, playing with a magic orb ball, key chain, stress ball, etc, and he also tics less when really engaged.  I don't know about alternative therapies, but lots of exercise also seems to help.

 

You may also find that advocating will matter as much as managing the tics.  I've re-iterated umpteen times (politely and calmly) how the tics are part of how his condition manifests at his age and that the medical professionals have assured us that there is nothing inherently harmful or worrisome about them.  Keep in mind that tics are relatively common in the 7 and 8 year old age group, even amongst kids with no known diagnoses.

 

Good luck to you!  Hope some of this helped.

 

post #3 of 29

Our son has tics/stims (I'm not really sure which) that wax and wane. One thing that I have finally noticed after 2-3 years is that it is always worst in the spring/summer and much better in the fall. It wasn't until this winter that I made the connection to seasonal allergies. Spring/summer is when my allergies flare, and I suspect his return of his 'issues' is related. (He used to pull/twist his hair until it fell out; he also clicks his jaw and he put his hands in front of his eyes repeatedly.)

 

 

post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerBeth View Post
We have been able to gently point out tics with no ill effects, and this may have increased his awareness, but in his case he gets worse if people harp on them.  (Matter of fact but non-judgemental works best).  Our son's tics did tend to not show a difference with stress when young, but did show a link with stress as he matured.

 

You may also find that advocating will matter as much as managing the tics.  I've re-iterated umpteen times (politely and calmly) how the tics are part of how his condition manifests at his age and that the medical professionals have assured us that there is nothing inherently harmful or worrisome about them.  Keep in mind that tics are relatively common in the 7 and 8 year old age group, even amongst kids with no known diagnoses.

 

I agree with this.

 

Ds has ADHD and some anxiety.

 

Ds had a "shoulder roll" tic that was probably around by age three. By age six he had picked up a couple more, then during first grade he was cycling through 6 or 7 different ones. A couple were embarrassing for him in school (he didn't notice much, but I saw the other children's reactions); that was the only time I really worried about it.

 

They do seem to get worse with stress/anxiety.  Though just as the tics were at their worst, it got better. In the last third of the year as things got better for him socially, they diminished quite a bit. The tics are still around but far less obvious than for most of first grade.

 

There are medications that can help diminish tics. We tried one but it ds didn't do well with it (it caused ADHD symptoms in him), and since his behavior in school was our primary concern we decided not to try another at that time.

 

 


Edited by Emmeline II - 7/7/11 at 3:26pm
post #5 of 29
I really don't think you should worry about having caused your child's tics.

I had them starting around 4th or 5th grade, and still have them today. I have what's called transient tic syndrome - I usually have a tic but it changes over time, and although I have about 5-6 major ones that I rotate through, I get some others as well. It used to really bother my mom but since I've been an adult, I've trained my self to re-train myself out of them when they do pop up. That means that I learn to recognize what I do right before I start the tic movement, and I practice doing something else instead. I do this for the ones that are more noticable socially, like a shoulder roll or grimace, but not for ones like when I type out on my leg what people are saying as they talk to me.

I think that I could have learned to redirect myself when I was much younger if my mother had known about this technique. Instead, she just yelled at me to stop. greensad.gif
post #6 of 29

My son had tics (between 5-6) and I came across some research that suggested supplementing with Magnesium. I also had him soak in epsom salt baths several times a week (they are magnesium and the body absorbs what it requires), as well as upping his dietary magnesium via foods. I did find that this helped, and quite quickly. His tics were only minor (facial grimace, eye rolling), but it certainly did the trick.

 

HTH

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 

Everyone, thank you so much for your responses.  It really has been helpful and reassuring to read about what your children are like, how the tics have changed over time, and how you've managed the them.  And PikkuMyy, it is good to read about this from an adult's perspective!  I hadn't read about that redirecting strategy- I'll have to look into it.

 

Magnesium- the devel. ped.  had recommended it for other reasons (sleep, anxiety d/o) so I may as well try it.  I just hadn't gotten around to buying it yet.  he does like epsom salt baths but I don't do it often enough- I need to remember to do it for him.

 

It can feel really lonely dealing with these issues, so I feel much better reading that it is somewhat common and can be transient.  I just get so anxious when I see his tics ramp up, and worry about what it will mean for him socially in life since he already has so many other issues that make it tough for him in school and in making friends.

 

 

post #8 of 29
I also wanted to suggest magnesium. I have had tics since I was in grade school. Over time, I got better at controlling/redirecting, but when, as an adult, I finally tried taking magnesium, the change was tremendous. It was such a relief not to have to worry about controlling them.
post #9 of 29

Any ideas about increasing magnesium in a child who won't drink the magnesium supplement no matter how I disguise it (darn supertaster!), and who hates baths? I'm lucky to get him in the tub once a week. Is that enough for an epsom salt bath?

post #10 of 29

Lynn, can you crush it and sprinkle it into/onto food? I'd also look into food sources if those are tolerated - nuts, seeds, gluten free grains - I made a gluten free porridge in my crockpot (using millet and quinoa) along with the seeds and nuts. Re the bath, any soaking is better than none, but I know you could do it every day if you wanted (the body will only take what it needs). There are also magneium oils available that can be rubbed in (you'd probably need to buy on the net) - apparently the most effective form of getting magnesium (haven't tried it myself, and is quite expensive).

post #11 of 29

He's a pretty sensitive kid in terms of adding things to food.

 

Though when you said nuts, I realize that one of his staple foods is nutella, which is reasonably high in magnesium. I wonder if 4 T of nutella a day would get him enough magnesium? (it's about what he eats -- as far as I can tell it's the only thing that keeps his pants from falling completely off!)

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the ideas!  Which form of magnesium have you found to be most effective, and about how much?  The developental ped recommended mag gluconate, but when I looked in the store the only brand in that form was Floradix which look great and is food based, but the big bottle is only 12 servings each for $25, so I don't think that's something I could keep up long term.  I think that powdered Calm supplement was cheaper/had more servings to a container, but I don't know if it's as effective.

 

Doing an epsom salts bath as we speak :thumb

 

And I do make a hot cereal every week w/ millet, quinoa, etc and stir sesame seeds into it- he doesn't love it, but when that's all I offer him for breakfast he'll eat some of it. 

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Awaken View Post

Thanks for the ideas!  Which form of magnesium have you found to be most effective, and about how much?  The developental ped recommended mag gluconate, but when I looked in the store the only brand in that form was Floradix which look great and is food based, but the big bottle is only 12 servings each for $25, so I don't think that's something I could keep up long term.  I think that powdered Calm supplement was cheaper/had more servings to a container, but I don't know if it's as effective.

 

Doing an epsom salts bath as we speak :thumb

 

And I do make a hot cereal every week w/ millet, quinoa, etc and stir sesame seeds into it- he doesn't love it, but when that's all I offer him for breakfast he'll eat some of it. 


I've found that the best supplement prices are usually online, or the same price as the store even with shipping added in; store selections, even at the Vitamin Shoppe, are usually limited.

 

I usually order from iHerb, Amazon, or Dr. Sears when he has a sale. I mixed the liquid (non-flavored) in with juice, but only at 1/4 of the adult dose and ds would drink it (though not happily)--sometimes I can get him to take things that don't taste great (but not bad) if I tell him that I think it will help with X.

http://www.nextag.com/magnesium-kids/products-html

 

post #14 of 29

A lot of info I have sourced is through Dr Carolyn Dean's website, she writes a lot of articles on magnesium and the ways of getting it. I can't recall off the top of my head which is the best (we aren't supplementing with it atm). Her book The Magnesium Miracle is where I got the hot porridge recipe from. I used to make a large batch once a week in my crockpot and freeze into portion sizes. I used to slow cook the seeds/nuts in with the porridge (then you get the benefits of soaking too). You can add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), or a little honey at serving to make it tastier too.

post #15 of 29

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Awaken View Post

Tell me about your experience with them.  Do they come and go in your child?  Change over time?  Does anything seem to impact the frequency?

 

 

I just had really good evidence that stress affects ds' tics as well. He was watching the Women's World Cup Final game, and just after the US women scored, he was taking deep breaths to calm himself, but also doing the facial grimaces and rolling his eyes, along with putting his hands in front of his eyes.  17 more minutes to go. He's going to be one disappointed boy if the US loses!

post #16 of 29

My DS has started doing something that I'm guessing is a tic.  His diagnoses are ADHD, SPD and anxiety.  He does a kind of clicking/sucking sound with his tongue.  For the most part we ignore it but unfortunately for me I also have the same diagnoses and where he is a sensory seeker, I am an avoider.  Do you guys think it is alright if I respectfully ask him to stop making the sound for a few minutes once in a while?  I don't harm him psychologically but I also need to preserve my sanity and in situations where I can't get away from him it sure would be nice to get a break from the sound.

 

Martha

post #17 of 29

I think it's OK to ask him to try to stop as long as there are also times that it is OK.  He might also tic less if he has something to replace it with (chew gum, have something to fidget with, etc).  It's a bit of give and take with tics, the parent learns tolerance, and the kid learns there might be times when it is best to try to manage the tic.

post #18 of 29

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Edited by birdhappy85 - 4/27/13 at 6:18pm
post #19 of 29

birdhappy85 - Thanks so much for your post.  It was full of aha moments for me.  You've given me lots to think about - especially the part about the Flonase!  We use that for my son and when I think about it, the tic showed up sometime after we started the med.

 

There's been a lot of stress in his life as well - mostly at school (which is over now thankfully) but also at home.  I'm going to work on reducing that for him and see what happens.

 

Thanks again

 

Martha

post #20 of 29

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Edited by birdhappy85 - 4/27/13 at 6:18pm
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