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  • I need advice

    Hi! My husband who is 37 and a teacher and myself, I am 32 and a homemaker, have three children 11B, 8B, 5G. Our eldest son was diagnosed with TS a year ago. I am still very new at this and trying to figure things out. Problem is, what I think are TS, tics or OCD my husband dismisses as laziness. He's never really been able to tie his shoes, and other simple motor skills he's had trouble with. My husband says he's lazy and just doesn't take the time to do things properly. I see signs of struggle. In school his teacher has spoken to me twice about him handwriting instead of printing. When I talked to my son about this he says he has trouble because there's too many loops. Apparently he was put in this class because his teacher has a background in special education. But she's been teaching for 20 years and I doubt she knows a whole lot about TS or OCD. She's also commented to me that she's never seen him display any signs of TS or OCD... yet I'm very involved at the school and volunteer a lot, I've seen him display signs while at school. Makes me wonder how much attention she pays to him.

    He's always had trouble with bullies (and he's not the only one at our school but the school doesn't see it as bullying, they say the kids need to learn to walk away, ignore the kid etc), nothing physical just always verbal. Lately this one kid has been tattling on my son and getting him in trouble. I was hearing all this from the teacher and my son claimed innocence. It was out of character for this kid to be the innocent one and my son to be guilty but this is the teacher telling me so I believed it... even though it didn't sit quite right with me. The other day, the incident involved my middle child, where the bully apparently came to the rescue. I was at the school and the teacher told me about it... after school I questioned my kids, and my middle boy told me the same version as my oldest (which made my middle boy the guilty party). I immediately called the teacher and told her. She told me that it had already been dealt with and she was just going to let it go, but it was nice to know my son wasn't lying. Now I'm questioning all the other times my child was apparently guilty and the bully kid was tattling.

    My son speaks to the school counsellor, but she's over worked and only in the school one day a week, so he only sees her about once every 6 weeks for a half hour. He's not on any meds at this time and we'd prefer to keep it that way. I'm thinking it would be best for him, especially if he's been getting in trouble for not doing anything, to speak to a professional outside the school. Especially with him entering adolescence.

    I made an appointment with our family dr for myself to go in and discuss what's been happening lately. I'd like him to refer my son to a Psychologist, preferable one with experience in TS, OCD, and kids. This is really my only avenue to pursue... and with my own husband and my son's teachers almost suspicious in thinking my son doesn't have TS... I'm really starting to feel alone. I'm trying to be an advocate for my child and provide him with a safe and secure world but it seems I'm fighting every step of the way.

    Thank you all for listening I just really needed to get that off my chest.

    Also do kids with TS and OCD have trouble with fine motor skills? Am I doing the right thing? Could I be doing more? How does stress affect kids with TS? My son's tics are always worse right after school, especially when he's had a bad day. What I really want to ask is What do I do, and how do I make his world better?

    Thanks Again!
    "In Total Darkness We Are All The Same"

  • #2
    Re: I need advice

    Hi there, My son (8) also has Tourette, OCD, ADHD and LD. He does not display tics at school, or at least anything noticable. The school has questioned me, wondering if he really does have tics. Mason has about 20 tics a day, most are not noticable to those who are not aware. My husband sometimes refuses to see the problems. It makes me so frustrated. Like I am making all this up! Makes no sense!

    Mason struggles with fine motor difficulties and always has. He has difficulty with most tasks that require him to use fine motor. Handwriting is a big issue as well.

    I find that Mason is a victim of bullying as well. Always the reciever, never the giver. If he does instigate it, it is something he is unaware that he is doing.

    I would have your son speak to someone for sure. I believe it is important that he knows that you believe him.

    We recently had a phychoeducational assessment done on our son, and it was very useful for finding out exactly what issues there are. You cannot disbute that he is "just lazy' anymore. The results showed conciderable issues in listening, following direction, attention, handwriting and learning. That might be an avenue worth persuing.

    Good luck, keep us updated.


    • #3
      Re: I need advice

      Thank you... it is so nice to know my son isn't the only one in this situation. I am so happy I found this board and look forward to going through the old posts.
      "In Total Darkness We Are All The Same"


      • #4
        Re: I need advice

        Similar here, my son has Tourettes, OCD, ADHD and ODD. He will be 10 next week. Tics don't seem to be an issue at school either, however I have kept him home occassionally because his tics were severe that I did not feel it was fair to send him.

        At school it is usually assumed that he started it with situations that he has any involvement in. Sadly in most cases, he has helped start it but does not realize this at all. It is usually as case of another student getting the idea and then somehow my sons involvement starts there. We have learned to listen to him first before assuming he did it. I think it's a lack of maturity and a lack of for-thought.

        We are lucky in that he is neither a bully or bullied. He just has a certain uniqueness about him that instead of kids making fun of him, some actually have tried to be like him :o He does have a kid (who is supposed to be his friend and is a fellow teammate) that tries to get him into trouble but it's finally been caught and the teachers now know it's not always the case.

        My son has had issues with tying his shoes as well. He can do it now, but it's still not the same as other kids his age. However I have an 11 yr. old in my daycare with ADHD and he has issues with shoe tying as well. I don't think it's laziness at all. Handwriting is horrible but that is a battle that we and the teachers have chosen to not have. As long as it is legible and he is trying, that is all that matters. I read somewhere the cursive is harder for kids like ours. Our issue as well is that if it's not perfect, he'll erase the whole darn thing, you can imagine how fun learning cursive has been

        I agree with Masonsmom that he needs to feel like he has support and someone in his corner. I would definately address the bullying. It is not tolerated at our school at all. No kid should go through that.


        • #5
          Re: I need advice

          For me I still have problems with fine motor. I never really grew out of it, and I still struggle with my handwriting everyday. Yet I now can write extended sentences legibly. Fine motor issues tend to be a problem for many people with TS, and I can't imagine that your son would be any different.

          As for the bullying that was a constant problem for me, all the way til college. After working through my issues with my therapist, I stopped letting the bullies get to me.

          I also see a common thread in that when I was little my dad never seemed to get what I was going through, and set off some heated arguments between the two of us. After time however, the two of us came to an understanding and brokered a peace. He now is someone I can go to when my tics get to be too much for me to handle.

          Over time all problems go away, you just have to be patient and never give up hope that your efforts will pay off.

          As for your other questions stress can be a trigger for tics, I can't imagine that anyone else would tell you differently. The more stressful the day the worse your son's tics will get. But don't worry, as long as you can provide him a safe comfortable place to tic, it should all work out. I found comfort in my apartment and at my parents house, your son can find comfort at your home as well, and if you are patient with him and look past the tics, he should feel comfortable ticing in front of you as well.
          TS and Chorn's disease, two diseases triggered by stress. Why am I going into special education one of the most stressful professions out there?


          • #6
            Re: I need advice

            You seem to have several things going on all at once.

            First of all:
            My husband says he's lazy and just doesn't take the time to do things properly.
            Many families can struggle when parents disagree about whether they are seeing symptoms or 'typical' childhood behaviour. On the whole, kids put in an effort to do tasks such as you describe. They tend not to be consistently lazy. Have you ever seen him be able to perform the task of tying his shoes properly? If not, you are more likely seeing problems with motor skills. We found with our son that it was better to assume that on-going problems were symptom related or were a result of him not understanding how to do something.

            Has your husband done any reading about TS or gone to any support meetings? Making sure you both have information about the various disorders is the best way to develop a consistent approach between the two of you to handling the challenges of TS.

            But she's been teaching for 20 years and I doubt she knows a whole lot about TS or OCD. She's also commented to me that she's never seen him display any signs of TS or OCD...
            It could be that the teacher has seen some TS before but is not sufficiently educated on it to realize that it manifests differently in each child. When you say you have seen your child's symptoms at school, does this include seeing symptoms when he is in the classroom? It could be that the teacher is not recognizing the symptoms and needs additional information. Does the school have a copy of Understanding Tourette Syndrome: A Handbook for Teachers? The book provides some very useful information for teachers and addresses some of the handwriting issues you are seeing as well.
            Forum Moderator


            • #7
              Re: I need advice

              My husband came home from work yesterday after having witnessed a scene involving a young student with Asperger's syndrome (I don't know anything about Asperger's so pleas forgive my ignorance). After the kids were in bed we sat down and talked and said, if what our son is going through is anything like what this boy has to deal with, issues with friends, not fitting in, being different, etc... then he wants to work with me to help him. The more we talked the more he understood. I showed him this site and he now admits that it's not laziness on our son's part... he's never been able to master shoe tying. Neither of us has ever witnessed him tying without a struggle, and he'll bring his shoes home sometimes to have us help him retie them then double knot them.

              I went in to talk with the teacher and the special ed teacher and vice principal. My son doesn't want his classmates to know he has TS and for now we have to respect that but he agreed that it would be good if the class as a whole heard a presentation on TS, OCD, ADHD, ADD without singling out my son or any other students (another boy has ADHD and epilepsy). As his mother, the school wants to make sure that I agree with the information that is being given to the kids, which is amazing since I never got any cooperation before this date. If anyone knows of anything that I should make sure gets included... please let me know. I'm going to check out the book for educators on this site and possibly buy it or have the school buy it. I'm so happy it seems were pointing in the right direction.

              On a side note... I mentioned to a friend how my son's new tic is the phrase "fried puppy" he uses it quite frequently, out of context of sort for example: I'll ask what he play at recess and he'll say "fried puppy",or how did you do on your math test and he'll say, I think I got fried puppy.... should I be concerned about this... the friend figured "fried puppy" was a disturbing term... I hadn't thought about it like that, I mean it's not like he's saying he wants to eat fried puppy or wants to fry up a puppy... what do you all think?
              "In Total Darkness We Are All The Same"


              • #8
                Re: I need advice

                fried puppy.... should I be concerned about this... the friend figured "fried puppy" was a disturbing term... I hadn't thought about it like that, I mean it's not like he's saying he wants to eat fried puppy or wants to fry up a puppy... what do you all think?

                Vocal tics are frequently bizarre in content and in no way reflect the intention or feeling of the person expressing them.

                Trying to stop a person with Tourette from expressing their vocal tic "du jour" would be equivalent to trying to stop any other form of tic.

                The result is futile, and only adds stress and distrust to the person with Tourette.

                Fried Puppy is rather benign compare to some vocal tics I have heard or even experienced, and I would certainly not be concerned.

                It is not clear to me who the friend is who found the words disturbing, and perhaps this person doesn't appreciate the involuntary nature of Tourette.

                Tell the friend, it's like trying not to sneeze or not to scratch an itch.

                Examples such as these usually help people understand the involuntary nature of Tourette
                TouretteLinks Forum


                • #9
                  Re: I need advice

                  Thank you... I wasn't concerned about the fried puppy until the friend brought it up. The friend, as far as I know is uneducated about TS, and was just adding an opinion. Which is why I'm happy I found this forum... I can now talk with people who have experience with TS.

                  I truly appreciate everyone's help.
                  "In Total Darkness We Are All The Same"


                  • #10
                    Re: I need advice

                    Angel, I highly recommend both the parents' handbook and the Circle of Support kit which are available from the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada in the Resources section (see under Publications and Merchandise on the website's main page). Actually, all of the resources are incredibly helpful!

                    I would also recommend that you contact the Foundation at 1-800-361-3120 (or 416-861-8398 if you are in the Toronto area) to see if there is a support group, resource unit or contact person available in your area. Even if you are from a smaller area, there may be someone available to do in-service presentations. I am from a small community on Vancouver Island and am trained by the Foundation to do in-services, for instance, so you don't necessarily need to be in a large community. All of us have materials from the Foundation that we can lend you as well. My "Circle of Support" kit, for example, is currently at a local school so that the video can be viewed by the staff and the educator's book used in order for them to help the parent of a TS child.

                    You have definitely come to the right place for information and support! Since finding out 6 years ago about our son's TS (and OCD, ADHD, ODD and a few other things!), I have learned so much from being a member, getting the materials and attending conferences. It's wonderful that your husband is now committed to working with you to learn how to advocate for and understand your son. Your son will learn in time how to be his own advocate as well. I have learned so much from our son about how his brain works a little differently than most and am in awe of how much courage and brilliance he has (even if he does do a good job of ticking us off pretty much every day!). Education is really the key and well worth the effort! All your children will benefit from you growing as parents and from understanding how they're all different from each other. That's what families are all about!

                    Keeping coming to the Forum! It's fascinating to hear from Touretters what their journey has been like too. It helps us grow in our understanding of how different brains work. We really have been sold a bill of goods over the years that everyone has to conform to the same "norms"--not true! There are ways to get what you need from the school system, for instance.

                    You meet the most understanding people here and at TSFC conferences! Keep up the great work you're already doing for your kids!



                    • #11
                      Re: I need advice

                      Originally posted by Angel4791 View Post
                      the friend figured "fried puppy" was a disturbing term... I hadn't thought about it like that, I mean it's not like he's saying he wants to eat fried puppy or wants to fry up a puppy... what do you all think?
                      Originally posted by Steve View Post
                      Vocal tics are frequently bizarre in content and in no way reflect the intention or feeling of the person expressing them.
                      Agreed, completely.

                      Some of my vocal tics include the word "destruction" (which is unnerving, but also random) and specific phrases that are purely gibberish and don't even resemble words in any language I'm familiar with.


                      • #12
                        Re: I need advice

                        Hi there and welcome to our forum

                        You have gotten so much information and phenomenal feedback already that there is not much left to share ;) but I wouldn't be me without adding something.

                        I have partnered with many, many parents over the years I have been involved and I would have to say that it is extremely common for the dads to not be able to accept or relate to what is happening. I have come to understand that it is not their fault, it's the "y-chromosome".

                        I have TSplus and two of my boys have TSplus and two of my youngest are symptomatic yet not diagnosed- we are still monitoring them and my husband has not read one thing on TS. Our second oldest also has Dyslexia and my loving husband has not read one thing on Learning Disabilities either. He is still supportive and will go to any lengths to get donations for fundraisers etc yet can not relate and leaves all that "stuff" to me. So I have accepted that and he has accepted the fact that when 65 cms of snow falls in 2 days here in Newfoundland that he shovels it all.

                        You may find because your husband is a teacher that he may get to a place that he will read the materials because he is interacting not only with his children everyday but all the kids in his classes. The signs and symptoms will soon start to be very obvious to him in the classroom. I have found that if I want my husband to get educated on TS, I have to talk to him about what I read or learned and playing movies etc. when he is in the room works too.

                        I really hope you visit often and stay connected. We all have so many things in common yet have so many varying challenges that we all benefit from other people experiences.

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