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What works for vocal tics?

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  • What works for vocal tics?

    My son is having a real challenge with vocal tics and stuttering. We're trying Risperal, but is doesn't seem to be doing much. He is 12 and on .75 mg now, and it is starting to make him sleepy during the day.....If we up it anymore, I think he'll be too groggy to function. It does help him sleep better and longer at night. What else has anyone tried and does it work? Side effects??

    He gets quite frustrated with the vocal tics....his teacher at school deals with it by having him out of the classroom with an aide for a good part of the day. He feels like he misses out a lot of what goes on in the classroom & feels like he is being punished for what he can't help. It doesn't seem to bother the other students as much as it bothers the teacher. I sat in his classroom a few times to observe. Some times the tics were a steady muttering, and other times he was completely quiet. Today he phoned me after school and he could hardly talk for stuttering. Obviously it was a stressful day.....Weekends at home he is fine, we hardly notice any tics at all. I think it is going to be a looooong school year!

  • #2
    What works for vocal tics?

    The best thing that works for vocal tics to get the teacher to realize that he/she is punishing your child for something that he does not have control over.

    A couple of things to consider:
    - does the teacher understand the nature of tics and that the tics are not willful -- in other words-- your son is not trying to disrupt the class

    - does your son need to be with the aide outside of the class in order to learn? Sometimes our TS kids think they are being singled out for their tics because they are conscious of them, when in fact some things have been put in place to assist with their learning because of Learning Disabilities, etc.

    - the vocal tics and stuttering are made worse by stress. School is stressful for most kids even without dealing with TS. Trying to cope with tics and stuttering makes the stress even greater. Is it possible to work with the teacher to find ways to reduce your son's stress level? Instead of being out of the class for long periods of time, can he remove himself from the class when his stress level is getting too high?

    Has there been an in-service in the classroom or for the teacher? It sounds like the teacher could benefit from additional information on TS and strategies for the classroom. If an in-service is not possible, provide the teacher with a copy of Understanding Tourette Syndrome: A Handbook for Educators and highlight the parts that are relevant to your child.


    • #3
      What works for vocal tics?

      Hi Lena
      I am new here and am learning much. My son hums constantly in the class and some of the students find it too much to take by the end of the day. I have sent him with gum to school and when there is an understanding that the students are supposed to be absolutely quiet he chews gum. This seems to help for short term/time limited periods of quiet. I don't know if this will work for you son, but perhaps it's worth a try.


      • #4
        vocal tics

        thanks to both of you for your replies. We've tried with educating the teacher. Not willing to understand. She doesn't seem to catch on that she is making him worse by creating more stress for him. I don't think she is doing this deliberately.....We recently had a meeting with her, and she admitted that he is out of the classroom because of the noises he makes, and not because of learning problems. Of course, her excuses were that it was bothering the rest of the class....I spoke to several of his classmate's parents, and some of their children hadn't even mentioned it, or just had in passing, and none of them thought it was a problem. I am beyond anger, just sad...Right now, we don't want to change schools, so we are trying to help our son the best we can by giving him as much support as possible. Today she told me his mutterings or talking was less, but he has started more throat clearing and coughing. He doesn't have a cold, so I guess if it isn't one vocal tic it is another. We could cope with the motor tics, but these vocal tics are far worse. And the risperdal isn't doing anything but sedating him. I am going to try and see if chewing gum will help.


        • #5
          What works for vocal tics?

          Unfortunately many teachers do not "hear" what the parent is saying when they are talking about their own child. Sometimes the message gets through when someone else gives it. I strongly recommend that you talk to the TSFC national office and see if there is someone in your area who can do an in-service presentation. If there is, then talk to the principal and see if an in-service can be arranged.

          Having an in-service presenter come in works on many levels. It emphasizes the information that parents have already given the teacher, it provides strategies that the teacher can try in the classroom, and it makes the principal, VP, special ed. teacher etc. more aware of the situation in the classroom. When you can get the school to look at the situation from the child's perspective, you can get them to make changes.

          The other benefit is that teachers who are unwilling to understand, become much more willing to understand when they attend a presentation with their peers and their principal.


          • #6
            Hi Lena


            I am new to this bulletin.

            I understand about vocal tics and how frustrating they can be. Stress or excitement make mine worse. My son and I both have Tourettes. I have stuttering tics.

            It may not seem like it now but it will become easier to cope with over time. When my vocal tics bother me I take my time talking. IF it starts, I stop talking and wait until I am ready to continue saying what I wish to say. Som,etimes I even laugh at myself. Laughing eases stress. (I used to get in trouble all of the time at school too when I was young. Even had my mouth taped shut)

            For my son, his TA takes him out of class for a walk. They give him a little job like taking a note to the office, helping the janitor etc. This way he gets a break, his classmates do but there is no punishment involved and no embarrasment for my son. We are lucky to have such a great school for him. His pricnciple is excellent and has helped him cope throughout the day many times.

            Don't let the teacher win the battle so the speak. Call your school board. Talk to a child phycologist. They can be very helpful. Even I have days where I wish i could take the boxing gloves off for a day so to speak but I know that while my son is young, my husband and I are his advocates. stand up for your child and don't back down. Don't stop until an understanding is the teacher and principle.

            Good luck