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Please Help, Why My Son Didn't Speak

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  • Please Help, Why My Son Didn't Speak

    Hi, everyone, I am new to here. My son is 91/2 year old. His tics got very severe in August (especially the vocal tic such as repeating the words and sentence, screaming, and even occasionally coprolallia)suddenly. In September, his tics reduced a lot, just remain some moto tics and mild vocal tics (such as dry cough, clearing throat and repeating words or sentence loudly).

    But from several days ago, my son became "mute ".He just nodding or shaking head , sometimes wrote down some sentence to us to express. We are so scaring and didn't know what happened to him. We asked him many times then he told us with pen, he said he didn't want to talk because he will repeat again and again, his friend would regard it funny and laugh.

    I do some research online then find a disorder names "selective mutism",I don't know if my son's current issue is belonged to selective mutism or anxiety or OCD or anything else?

    Could anyone can give me some advice? I don't know how to help my son. Because we have to wait to see the specialist in sickkids hospital in the end of November (because the appointment date has been made at that time ), so we don't know what we can do to help him before seeing the specialist.

    Thanks million times for your help!

  • #2
    Re: Please Help, Why My Son Didn't Speak

    Welcome to the TC Forum, Sunnybonjaja.

    Thank you for joining us and I hope we can provide the support and direction you might need at this time, give your son's challenges.

    Sorry to hear about the difficulties your son is having managing his vocal tics, and especially for his stopping to speak, as an apparent reaction to his tics. Some additional information might help in providing some direction.

    How long has your son been diagnosed with Tourette and has he been provided with some insights and understanding of his disorder by a therapist or medical professional?

    we have to wait to see the specialist in sickkids hospital in the end of November
    Is this his first appointment or is it a follow up?

    Is it possible to call the clinic, to explain your son's situation, to ask if he can be seen sooner?

    His tics got very severe in August
    Was there some event or situation in August that might have triggered his tics by making him more anxious, stressed, tired or excited than usual?

    What is the reaction to your son's tics by other members of the family in the home?
    TouretteLinks Forum


    • #3
      Re: Please Help, Why My Son Didn't Speak

      Hi, dear Steve, very appreciated for your prompt reply.

      1. He began to have tics when he was 6(now is 91/2)year old, his tics were mild in the last 3 years, so the doctor said he didn't need to see specialist and receive any therapy.

      2.The appointment to see the specialist in sickkids hospital in November is the first time assessment appointment. I don't think they would see us sooner, because even my son's tics were so severe in August that they still told me they cannot make any special arrangement for us.

      3. I think the boring summer holiday should be an importand reason to make my son's tics worse. He mostly stayed at home playing games, did much less exercise than in school time. And sometimes I pushed him to do sports outside that he would be angry and quarreled with me. And there was one thing I regarded as a trigger possibly. One day, when he played game in my cellphone, maybe he clicked a pop-up adult website advertisement then my cellphone was got infected by virus. The screen was locked by a fake police warnning letter said "You must pay $300 penalty for your viewing the sex porn ".I was so angry and I berate him for that. And from that happened, I began to limit his hour to play games. And later his vocal tics got much worse . He yelled some words such as "sex ""porn ""go "and the sentence "I hate the sex porn ".So I thought his tics outburst were related to that thing I mentioned.

      4, When his screaming tics happened, sometimes my younger son (3 year)would copy him. So we had to ask him to tic in his own room upstairs. Sometimes when the younger son was not home, I can ignore his tic and let him keep ticcing anywhere at home. But sometimes we would remind him try to use others acceptable words to replace the obscene words(because at that time the new school year is coming, we worrie he would be kick out from school for his yelling obscene words ).
      Last edited by sunnybonjaja; September 20, 2015, 11:16 AM.


      • #4
        Re: Please Help, Why My Son Didn't Speak

        Thank you for the additional information which provides a better understanding of the situation.

        I don't know how appointment scheduling works at Sick Kids in Toronto, but in many hospitals if a parent explains there are circumstances that have changed that appear to need attention, sometimes if a cancellation or other opportunity comes up, you can be put on a "waiting list" to be moved forward. It never hurts to try...the worst that can happen is that your appointment remains unchanged.

        You are your son's best advocate, and sometimes with a polite and reasonable explanation, the system can be made to work in your favor.

        The evolution of tics is complex and as you alluded to, perhaps his experience with the porn site and the fact that he was made aware porn sites are inappropriate, may be the reason his vocal tics evolved to include sexual references. The part of the brain thought to be involved in Tourette tics is also associated with other disinhibitory behaviors.

        sometimes we would remind him try to use others acceptable words to replace the obscene words
        Essentially you are asking your son to "stop it" and because tics are an involuntary response to an urge that needs to be satisfied, asking your son to substitute other, more socially acceptable words is not a strategy that can succeed, and may be a source of added stress for him.

        The idea of "doing something else" is sound, however, and is the basis of habit reversal therapy (HRT) used in helping kids to manage tics as part of behavioral therapy (CBIT), but requires a trained therapist to work with your son, to correctly apply these techniques.

        My understanding of selective mutism is very limited, so I would confine my comment to suggest that perhaps the anxiety your son has experienced with recent events, has made your son, either consciously or subconsciously feel such shame, embarrassment or rejection by his peers that he has caused himself to remain silent, perhaps involuntarily.

        Please see: Selective Mutism Group | FAQ

        You may want to investigate having your son seen by a private child psychologist who would assess his symptoms and provide some guidance.

        I believe the following clinics in the Toronto area have therapists with experience with Tourette and associated disorders you may want to call and discuss your son's situation:

        CBT Associates of Toronto - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy ask for Dr.Kim Edwards

        Possibilities Clinic

        You could also call the Tourette Canada National Office in Mississauga to ask about other practitioners you might contact locally.

        You may also find some further insights into vocal tics HERE

        You may also consider taking your son to the Tourette Canada National Conference in Niagara Falls October 15 where he can meet other kids living with Tourette Syndrome, which would provide him with perspective about his symptoms, and learn he is not alone.
        TouretteLinks Forum


        • #5
          Re: Please Help, Why My Son Didn't Speak

          Hi, Steve, could you please tell me how to attend the event in niagra falls on October 15?


          • #6
            Re: Please Help, Why My Son Didn't Speak

            Information is contained in the link I provided in the previous post, which is: Tourette Canada National Conference October 2015

            Additionally you can register by visiting the Tourette Canada website HERE and / or call the National Office HERE.

            If you do attend the National Conference, please look for me to say hello and to meet in person. I will be giving the presentation on CBIT on Friday at 1:00 pm

            Please see the attached PDF Program Guide
            Attached Files
            TouretteLinks Forum


            • #7
              Re: Please Help, Why My Son Didn't Speak

              Hi, Steve, my son has recovered talking normally from last Wednesday. But unfortunately, his screaming tic come back when he began to talk, sometimes even with the coprolalia symptom.

              Among all the symptoms of TS, I have to say that I fear coprolalia the MOST! I heard about that coprolalia is the worst and most severe thing of TS. I worried so so so much about that. I worried it couldn't be cured, my heart broke when I imagine that.
              Last edited by sunnybonjaja; September 26, 2015, 03:54 PM.


              • #8
                Re: Please Help, Why My Son Didn't Speak

                my son has recovered talking normally from last Wednesday
                What happened or changed on Wednesday that affected his return to speech?
                TouretteLinks Forum


                • #9
                  Re: Please Help, Why My Son Didn't Speak

                  I just encouraged him to talk everyday, then he finally return to talk. So I think the non-talking symptom perhaps was an emotional tic.

                  So could you please help me to answer my question about coprolalia? I heard about the coprolalia is the most severe symptom of TS and could not be cured. I am so scaring. Thank you very much.


                  • #10
                    Re: Please Help, Why My Son Didn't Speak

                    emotional tic
                    Tics are muscle involuntary movements. A tic would be defined as a sudden, rapid, recurrent, nonrhythmic motor
                    movement or vocalization. Vocalizations or phonic tics are muscle movements as well, using vocal cords, which are muscles as well. The content of the vocalization, such as coprolalia, has nothing to do with intentional cursing or use of inappropriate language, but more to do with the relief sustained from the actual vocalization. The inappropriate language is probably influenced by the fact that the part of the brain thought to be involved, also affects being disinhibited, thereby expressing words ordinarily thought to be inappropriate.

                    Your son may have stopped talking because of anxiety, but that behavior would not fall under the definition of a tic.

                    I heard about the coprolalia is the most severe symptom of TS and could not be cured.
                    Tourette Syndrome is a complex disorder and in order for you, as a concerned parent to effectively support and advocate for your son, you need to make sure you get your information from reliable and knowledgeable sources. There are far too many myths about Tourette that can mislead and confuse.

                    Most severe?? Probably not, depending on your point of view. There are tic symptoms experienced by some people with Tourette that totally incapacitate them causing severe physical injury, making it virtually impossible to function.

                    A vocal tic can be managed, given the right kind of behavior therapy.

                    Notice I said managed and not cured.

                    There is no cure for Tourette, but symptoms can be managed, to enable your son to integrate as best he can, in school, socially and eventually in the workplace.

                    Tourette tic symptoms wax and wane, and in many cases diminish as a child grows into adolescent years. Your son is nine and a half, and although it may not apply to everyone, in many cases tics tend to peak around the age of ten to eleven, as the portion of the brain (basal ganglia) thought to be the center of tic symptoms matures.

                    Tics, although involuntary are influenced by environmental factors, both internal and external. Environmental factors can include being stressed, anxious, tired or excited, while the reactions of others, such as family members, classmates, teachers etc to your son's tics can exacerbate and maintain his tics.

                    As previously mentioned, your options might be to advocate for your son by contacting the Sick Kids clinic to try to move his consultation appointment ahead, or to consult one of the private clinics I suggested, or to contact the National Office to locate a therapist who could begin working with your son to help him sooner.

                    An independent assessment of what environmental factors might be influencing your son's increased tic frequency and intensity would seem to be the priority at this time.

                    There is reason for cautious optimism, given his age and the nature of his tics.
                    TouretteLinks Forum