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  • blank stares

    Hi there my name is Sara. I have a 7 year old son who was diagnosed with Tourette Disorder, ADHD and OCD. When he was about 4 we noticed some blank Stares. Mason was sent for a cat scan, ecg, eeg and bloodwork. The only thing that was found were lesions on his brain. I was told that these lesions were comon and I should not worry. We did not worry about anything since as we have not seen much of these blank stares. Mason has head tics, throat clearing and the odd vocal tic, although pretty minor in the last year or so. I have notced these blank stares again in the last few weeks. His head cocks to the side and he looks off into space for about 10-15 seconds , then he just continues whatever he was doing. I have asked him about these stares and he knows that he is doing them, however cannot stop. He tells me that he just shakes it off. I have no idea what this could be? Any Ideas? I am a quite concerned.

    Sara
    Sara

  • #2
    Re: blank stares

    Hello Sara and welcome to the TSFC Forum. Have you discussed your son's stares with the physician who diagnosed his Tourette and associated disorders?

    Has your son ever been evaluated by a neurologist with a professional interest in movement disorders, specifically Tourette, to interpret the significance of the lesions?

    Based on your observation, Sara, does his staring and your son's behaviours surrounding the staring appear to be another form of tic, but expressed as a stare?

    Looking for ward to your comments and the comments of others.

    Steve
    TouretteLinks Forum

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: blank stares

      It was discussed when he was younger. Unfortunatly I had difficulty with doctors. I just could not get any answers. The lesions on his brain were first notices by ultrasound during my pregnancy. I was told their was no link to the blank stares. I concidered the posibility of it being a tic but I have never heard of a tic like it. He often cocks his head to the side and has a gulping type swallow but these blank stares are different. His head will drop to the side and he just freezes for 10 seconds or so then goes back to what he was doing. I have seen him do this several times a day. Mason is taking Strattera for his ADHD and has been on it for 1 year. It's like he is daydreaming or deep in thought. What do you think? Could it be a tick?

      We have not seen a neurologist, only a phyciatris and developmental pediatrician who specializes in kids with these types of issues.

      Sara
      Sara

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: blank stares

        Just wanted to say welcome from me too....... I am new to this site, but not to ADHD, OCD and TS.

        Hope you get some answers soon

        Jaxx (New Zealand)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: blank stares

          Hi,
          I happened to be at the emergency room at the childrens hospital a few weeks ago. I was talking to a Mom whose daughter was exhibiting similar behaviour. Her daughter would, for only a few seconds at a time, 'go blank' - for lack of a better expression. She was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy. It may not be the case with your son but maybe it's a path you should consider looking at.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: blank stares

            Hi again,

            Another possibility is a type of migraine. My older boy who has tourettes has migraines and I know thay can present themselves in different ways.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: blank stares

              Interesting thoughts, YumYum. All the better reason for this young man to be evaluated by a neurologist. Thanks for the input.

              BTW as I am one who experiences migraine like your son, you may be interested in this Forum posting
              Steve
              TouretteLinks Forum

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: blank stares

                Yum Yum
                You made an interesting point.


                Sara

                Welcome to the TSFC forum and I am glad you found us.

                The tic you describe my son shares but without the blank stare. We did however see these stares when he was younger while being on a medication. It was like he zoned out for a 10 or 20 seconds and then came back to us.

                I would suggest that you discuss your concerns with your physician. Personally I am considered an advocate to other mom's and a screamer to the medical profession. I don't back down until I get the answers we need.

                My son is evaluated annually and any changes are always addressed quickly to rule out any concerns. It is easy to get lost in the system though.

                Possibly you could be referred to a pediatric neurologist and they could confirm if there is something to be concerned about. The fact that these stares have returned and have become more steady is a fact that should be addressed. Document or journalize our days and experiences so that when you get into the Doctor you have some notes to refer too.

                If your concerns worsen and you have to wait to see someone may I personally suggest you can always take him to a hospital ER that has the equipment necessary for testing during the day. Someone will help you and they will push the appointment you already have or are waiting for to an earlier date, especially if they find some answers for you.

                I hope you get some answers soon and please keep us posted on your findings.
                PJK

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: blank stares

                  Hi there, Thank you for your help and Support. I have been to our Pediatrician and he is sending Mason for an EEG and a MRI to start. He told me that it could be a complex tic but need to rule out a type of stareing seizure. I have not seen any in a day or so but he has had a change in behaviour recently. He is much more moody and negative with some anger outbursts. We do not notice much in the way of tics but behaviour is worse. It's interesting because when he was diagnosed with Tourette's he displayed many motor and vocal tics but for the last year we have only seen very minor tics. Nothing that is very disruptive to him or others. He has a head and neck tic that never seems to go away. His head sort of rolls around as if his neck cannot support his head and at the same time he clears his throat. He will have this about 5-10 times a day. He has had vocal tics where he has snorted and hissed and had them every 20 seconds for several weeks. We have not seen any of this now for a year or more. If it wasn't for these head tics I would feel that he does not have Tourette's. His teachers have never seen any tics, I think they sometimes do not believe he even has tics! He is on Stattera and it has certainly helped and we have seen a reduction in tics since he started taking it. We have noticed that everything is much worse in the winter, I feel this is due to his activity level. The more active he is the less issues he has.

                  I look forward to getting to know everyone!

                  Sara
                  Sara

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: blank stares


                    Sara

                    Sometimes tics show up more at home then in public since it is a safe place to let them out. Unfortunately by holding them in or trying to control them the frustration can surface too.

                    The head & neck tic you describe is one my son has had in the past and other teens on this forum. It is not comfortable to experience and in our case caused some pain, aggression, lower tolerance. My son is TS+ so I guess everything peaked during that time.

                    Does your son understand that he has TS or what TS is?

                    He may think he is different or it is not alright to have TS and that could cause higher frustration levels too.

                    Have your reported his mood swing to your physician? This might be a good idea so you can receive some direction to help him.

                    Please continue to keep us posted.
                    PJK

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: blank stares

                      Hi there.

                      Yes we talk openly about his Tics and we educate our other children and family about it. Mason finds his head tic frustrating rather than painful! He gets quite anxious when he has one and it usually lasts about 5-6 seconds rather than a quick jerking movement.

                      Right now he is very anxious and emotional. He is crying a lot and he gets angry fast. He is swearing a lot but not sure if that is a tic or behaviour...maybe both. It is not repetative...when he gets frustrated, excited or upset he will swear in conversation. Today I am picking up is increased dose of Strattera and I really hope it helps.

                      We are monitoring his moods and reporting to the doctor. I questioned bipolar disorder, but he does not get extreme highs, only lows and his mood changes fast.

                      I am having a difficult time emotionally watching him quicky become worse. I feel like I am reliving his diagnosis all over again!

                      Sara
                      Sara

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: blank stares

                        Sara,

                        It's understandable that this new experience would be frustrating, but be assured that by learning more about Tourette you will be able to provide Mason with the tools and strategies to live his life in a productive and enjoyable manner.

                        The key to the success of people with Tourette or any other disorder is to determine their strengths and talents and to focus an these in making their life and career decisions.

                        Most people with Tourette can live a full and normal life in their chosen career and their Tourette becomes just a footnote.

                        As Mason gains insight into his Tourette and becomes self confident with your love and support, he will be able to deal with whatever comes along.

                        It sounds like you are on the right track as you work with his doctors to get a precise diagnosis.
                        Steve
                        TouretteLinks Forum

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: blank stares

                          Hi,
                          I understand how you feel. I watched my son Jacob go through anger storms throughout elementary school. He was constantly taken to the principal's office. He would scream and sometimes bang his head off the concrete wall to the point where it would bleed. It would seem to come out of nowhere. ie: he walked into the classroom and his desk had been moved. Before he was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, school had gotten so bad I had to take him out and homeschool him.

                          We found what helped was recognizing the onset of the storm and trying to prevent it by allowing Jacob to pace. We knew he would not leave the school so the teachers became attuned to the facial expressions that usually meant a storm was approaching and asked Jacob if he wanted to 'go for a walk'. If the storm could not be prevented we found just letting him calm himself worked best. This meant don't talk to him, and especially don't touch him. He is almost thirteen now and we have only seen one storm in the last year. I think as he gets older and is better able to express himself the storms subside. A little peer pressure might help, too.

                          I went through the thoughts of bipolar disorder as well. But the extreme lows were all focused around school. Also, the storms would last up to an hour max and then it was like he didn't remember. For homework, which was also a trigger, I told his teachers we were doing one hour every night and what was completed in that hour would be turned in. Having the expectation of that hour from seventhirty to eightthirty changed our home to a much more peaceful place.

                          Any kind of change (substitute teachers, desks, one class to the next) was a trigger for JAcob. Recognizing the triggers and trying to avoid them worked best. There is an excellent book out called 'The Explosive Child' by Ross Greene. He spoke at the conference last year and has some good stategies for helping with these situations.

                          Anyway, I can ramble on forever about stategies to prevent storms, but these are the ones we found worked best.

                          Yum Yum

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: blank stares


                            Sara

                            It sounds like you are experiencing the stages most of us mothers have been through.

                            It is difficult to see the frustrations, verbal lashings and highs and lows. Sometimes it does feel like you take 20 steps back instead of 10 forward and the experience can be emotionally draining and painful to experience.

                            You just have to remember that you are doing a good job and working close with the physicians, mapping mood charts and journalizing makes a big difference.

                            I ask for time lines for my son to respond to medications or increase doses. Granted this is always an individual process but having a base line helps me decide when to call the Doctor back to report and clears the air with teachers and principal express their concerns about behaviors.

                            Sometimes it feels like a bad roller coaster ride trying to find the balance but Steve is right about your son learning to live a happier fuller life in the future. It takes time and maturity but once your son's self esteem balances out and he feels in better control of life you will see some progress.

                            The concern of Bi-polar can happen as we have been through this process three times already. In our case it is the "mood disorder" they are now concerned about and bi-polar is being questioned again.

                            I understand the frustrations you are feeling but you are doing what you should and am providing a solid foundation for your son. Stay in close contact with the physicians concerns and transfer any information the school provides to your charts and journals. In my case I make it a requirement and the principal supports me on this. All this information creates patterns or shows there is no pattern. It can also surface triggers that you can learn to deal with before they happen once you better understand them. Your son will learn with you.

                            Thank you for keeping us informed of your progress and remember there is a clearer tomorrow and you are not alone.

                            Take care.
                            PJK

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: blank stares

                              I was going to send this posting as a PM but thought again about how many times I have found information on this site that has been invaluable so it would be unfair of me to withold some information that might just help someone else. Not saying this is necessarily helpful, but what the heck, I can get it out of my system anyways.

                              My son is just about 6 and in the middle of getting his TS diagnosis. He too has these blank stares that you were asking about. It's like he zones out for a minute or two and then he's back. I really hadn't thought much of it because I did the same thing as a child and still do it every once in a while. So I'll try to explain what it's like from my point of view.
                              It's like I just exit the world for a short period of time, I don't think I'm even thinking of anything when it happens. I can vividly remember when I was in grade 9 in the change room after gym class and I had an 'episode', i was staring off and was 'woken up' looking over in the direction of the 'cool kids' getting changed :o, I didn't direct my stare there, that's just where I went but of course in other people's views it just looks like I'm staring at them (of course there was some nasty thing said to me, but that's not the point I wanted to make here). I don't 'see' anything when in this state. Sometimes I think I am stuck in a daydream and other times it feels like I'm just gone until I either naturally come out of it or someone pulls me out of it (by talking to me, calling my name, etc.). I can picture it very clearly, it's not an uncomfortable feeling at all, it's actually quite comforting, this happens for me during times of relaxation and stress but I think more often during stress (studying, lecture theatre, intense conversation...) so it could be a reaction to over stimulation?
                              As I said my son does this too and you've now posed an interesting quest for me. Because I have experienced it and apparently this isn't a 'normal' thing I will take this to my GP and see where it goes.
                              Since this all began with my son I have found more and more things, more of my idiosyncrasies and quirks aren't just things everyone goes through but only a select few of us.
                              I hope that you follow this through alnd keep us posted Sara and welcome to the boards. I have found so much support and information here, where would I be without the internet...

                              Comment

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