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Tourette tics disappearing?

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  • Tourette tics disappearing?

    Hello,
    My 6 year old is still waiting to see a neurologist, but her pediatrician believes she may have tourettes, and based on her actions we think she may also have ADHD. In September 2014 we noticed she started her tics. She started blinking a lot and then that turned to her turning her head and shaking it as well. Then came the vocal tics (squeaking, throat clearing, choking sounds). We noticed that when she was on March Break they disappeared and then came back once she started school. Now she is on summer break and they have practically disappeared. Is this common with Tourettes? Do they disappear and return?
    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Tourette tics disappearing?

    Welcome to the TC Forum Vanessa! Thank you for joining us. Hope you will find the information and support you might need for your daughter.

    waiting to see a neurologist....her pediatrician believes she may have tourettes, and based on her actions we think she may also have ADHD
    In preparation for the neurologist's consultation, it would help to write down a detailed log of your daughter's tic symptoms from the date they first emerged, and how they progressed from that time until now. Sometimes children will suppress their tics in front of the doctor, making it difficult for the doctor to see the precise nature of the symptoms.

    If you can discreetly make some video of your daughter's tic symptoms, that would also be helpful for the doctor.

    Because a Tourette diagnosis has a genetic component, it would help the consultant to know about any family members who may have exhibited tic activity. In earlier generations, because of limited awareness of tic disorders and stigma, people rarely reported these symptoms, and lived their lives with so-called "peculiarities".

    As you may be aware, a Tourette diagnosis is potentially accompanied by associated disorders, like ADD, OCD, anxiety and mood disorders, conduct disorders such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and sensory processing disorder (SPD). Not all children will have them, but if you noticed other symptoms, they should be reported to the consultant as well.

    [QUOTE]We noticed that when she was on March Break they disappeared and then came back once she started school. Now she is on summer break and they have practically disappeared. Is this common with Tourettes? Do they disappear and return?/QUOTE]

    Your observations are very perceptive and significant, and you are correct.

    Although Tourette tics are involuntary, due to the way symptoms originate within the brain, tics are influenced by environmental factors, both internal and external.

    Internal factors would include anxiety, stress, fatigue and excitement; whereas external factors that occur outside one's body such as people, places or situations that cause a response in your daughter, and those responses will exacerbate and / or maintain her tic activity.....note they do not cause her to tic, but those factors can affect whether or not she tics and can affect the frequency and intensity of her tics.

    Conversely situations where your daughter feels safe, comfortable, at ease, relaxed, well rested and perhaps occupied with an activity she likes or an activity requiring focused attention such as coloring, singing, playing a musical instrument, her favorite craft activity....even juggling, can have a calming effect on her tics.

    So your observations are correct, Vanessa, and this is why therapists providing behavioural therapy for kids and people with Tourette will work to identify the situations that tend to increase tic activity to find ways to either avoid those situations, mitigate the situations through function based intervention, or to find ways to reduce the impact of those triggering situations.

    Tics tend to wax and wane over time as part of the course of Tourette as well, however based on what you have described, you may want to investigate what is actually taking place in her school environment, the interaction of her teacher(s) and peers to see if there are behaviours by others that are influencing your daughter's symptoms.

    Often there is a lack of awareness among educators, which is reflected in their comments and their approach to students with special needs.

    Tourette Canada and the local Ottawa Chapter have resources that can help with in service training at your daughter's school if you think it might help.

    You are your daughter's best advocate, so if you feel the environment for your daughter in school is adversely affecting her symptoms, you need to take appropriate action.

    How is the response to your daughter's symptoms around the home, with family members, her playmates and friends?

    Are you familiar with the local Ottawa Tourette Canada Chapter?
    Steve

    Dum spiro spero....While I breathe, I hope

    Tourette Canada Homepage
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