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Are tics more prominent at home?

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  • Are tics more prominent at home?

    Hi all,

    I am interested in knowing if tics tend to be more prominent at home where a child is more relaxed or in a comfortable environment.
    Sometimes my son tics a lot at home, especially when he is relaxed such as reading, watching TV or just lounging. I had read that tics worsen in tense situations, but I don't know if that is true with my son. I don't know if he tics much in school. I did mention it to his teacher and she said she only noticed some eye blinking. I also ask my son if any kids have said anything to him and he said they haven't. He is in fourth grade. I ask him if he tics at school and he doesn't seem to be sure of an answer and usually says "a little bit". I don't want to keep harping on it by asking him all the time. I am quite the worrier. He is a "pleasant" student according to every teacher he has had. So, there are no behavior problems at school which I am thankful for. Behavior at home is a different story, though. When I talk to his teachers, I think they are talking about a different child. He is very strong-willed and has a temper at home. It is nothing that we cannot handle, though, with a time-out or depriving him of something he likes to do.
    I appreciate any thoughts.


  • #2
    Are tics more prominent at home?

    I think it varies, and depends on personality.

    Stress tends to make tics worse. Focus/concentration can reduce them.

    So in a public situation, a very introverted person may tic more while someone who is comfortable with others may tic less.

    He may tic more at home because he's idle, though. At school, he's probably focused on everything else which may mean that he tics less, but also that he doesn't notice them nearly as much.

    It's interesting - both have happened to me. When I'm extremely busy sometimes I "forget" to tic, but as soon as I'm idle again they come back (and a little more to catch up). Also, if I'm doing something active I don't really even notice that I'm ticcing. (Other people do, apparently, but sometimes I just don't notice myself since I tend to tune it out.)


    • #3
      Are tics more prominent at home?

      Home for children with TS traditionally is a "safe haven" where they can relax and are accepted. Hence it also becomes the place where they can let their tics out, especially if they have been supressing or trying to hold them back in social situations like school.

      It is not uncommon for parents to see an increase in tics and other behaviours in the home when the child does not exhibit them other places. This should be seen as a positive, although it is difficult sometimes to not take it personally or wonder why you are so "lucky".

      Keep the lines of communication open and he will eventually confide in you if there are any problems with bullying or teasing. It is not unusual for the teachers to not see many tics as the child with TS will often try to avoid ticcing in class. Just monitor his progress as some children put so much effort into suppressing the tics that it interfers with learning.

      Sounds like so far you are handling things well.

      Have you checked out the Handbook for Families? There is a sample section on the TSFC website and copies are available for sale. Many families are finding this publication a great resource.


      • #4
        Are tics more prominent at home?

        Hi Grammy,

        if tics tend to be more prominent at home where a child is more relaxed or in a comfortable environment.
        Absolutely!!! Also, my son's ADHD is worse at home too. Homework is always a joy!

        I take comfort in the fact that he can ticc away at home and nothing is ever said about it.

        My husband will hold in his tics so much that as soon as he gets in the car he starts to tic, to the point that most times he needs help getting his seat belt on.

        My husband is the nicest guy in the world at work and has a temper at home. It is difficult to deal with.

        It seems that TS shows itself differently depending on the situation.


        • #5
          Are tics more prominent at home?

          Thanks for your replies.

          My son sounds like yours. It seems like when he first gets home from school, he is calm (tic-wise) for 5 or 10 minutes and then he goes through this flurry of continuous ticcing lasting maybe a half hour to an hour. Then it starts to subside, although doesn't stop. This doesn't happen every day but often enough. I recently asked him if he controls his tics a little better while at school and he said yes. I'm not sure if his answers to my questions are accurate though, as he is very anxious to get outside to play with his friends and I think he sometimes just agrees with me so he can get on with whatever he is planning to do. Hopefully he doesn't have the ticcing as much at school. I've observed him briefly at play with the neighbor kids and there is so much physical activity that it is hard to notice any tics, with everyone's arms and legs going at the same time.
          Thanks for listening.



          • #6
            Are tics more prominent at home?


            I think he sometimes just agrees with me so he can get on with whatever he is planning to do.
            That is so true!!

            Grammy, we are always here to listen.

            Like you said our children are similar and we could learn and grow from our experiences.



            • #7
              Are tics more prominent at home?


              It is good to see you again. We have experienced the same with our son.

              He is very happy and adjusted at school and the tics are few. The other students ignore them when they happen so it is not a big deal.

              At home the "safe haven" the tics can role, usually while being stimulated by a game, TV cartoons or computer. Often while reading they are few.

              In his case, sleep, proper eating habits and exercise like bike riding all effect his tolerance to life and the severity of his vocal and motor tics.

              The head strong temperament you mentioned we also experienced. My son is going on 13 now and we are past that stage it appears.
              Basic structure and boundaries helped curb the temperament issues and made him responsible for his own actions. It's taken some time but so far we have made great progress.

              My son is TS+ and that does include ADHD

              Take care and keep us posted on how things are going.