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5 yrd old son

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  • 5 yrd old son

    My husband picked up our son from school the other day and his teacher had commented on some of his 'odd' behaviours, and how similar they were to her nephews'(who has Tourette Syndrome).

    That was the second time such a comment has been made. The first one being when he was three. I took him to his Dr. and read up on it at that time. He didn't seem to fit the description, which was the Dr's opinion also. I haven't been able to get this off my mind however and would like some feedback from those who really know Tourette Syndrome.

    He makes this forced cough/ throat clearing noise, hundreds of times each day. He may do it up to 5 or more times in one sentence. He began this around age 3. He stopped for awhile only to start with another sound, then another. At one time he boasted that he had 5 different sounds. He is now back to just the first one. (This is what has his teacher concerned.)

    I have thought for a while now that he may have OCD. (Many, many reasons).
    He does not have any physical twitches that I know of.
    He does have speech problems. He has been in speech therapy now for almost 3 years and I still only understand 75% of what he is saying. He has been recently enrolled in a more aggressive speech program for children with severe speech disabilities. He is far sighted and wears glasses(fairly strong ones-not sure what the exact prescription was).

    There is probably more that I will remember when I finish writing this, as well, I am not sure what information is important.

    I know that many children have just normal 'habits' that come and go, I did when I was 5,6,7 yrs old. How do I distinguish between a regular habit and something more serious.

    One last thing, I am not sure if his forced throat clearing/cough sound is something he has control over or not. Sometimes it is as if he can't help but do it, but I just can't be sure.

    I have read through the information on this site, and found it very helpful.

    Thank you.

  • #2
    5 yrd old son

    Welcome to the TSFC Forum! Glad to hear you've found the information on the Forum helpful.

    Feel free to join in any ongoing discussion or start one of your own.

    You may wish to read this Forum posting which reviews the diagnostic criteria used by your physician to reach a diagnosis of Tourette. The posting also contains links to a couple of other useful resources.

    Is there a local Tourette support organization in your area where you can find local resources?
    TouretteLinks Forum


    • #3
      5 yrd old son

      Welcome to the TSFC forum!

      Since the teacher noticed a possible concern, have you called the Doctor again to ask him?

      Tic's as we refer to them wax and wane and vocal or motor tics can come and go, sometimes one replaces another, other times one just returns without warning.

      If your son is experiencing vocal tics then he can not really control them. It is something you can try to suppress or alter but they have to come out.

      Have you noticed if activity makes a difference? Testing in school?

      Sometimes stress or anxiety can cause them to be more noticeable to others.

      I would strongly recommend that you take the information you have provided to us and run it by his Doctor for confirmation.

      If a teacher noticed this, then other children may have also noticed too. Without the children understanding what TS is they can approach your son differently and make your son uncomfortable.

      Right now without understanding "why" he can feel "isolated" and hurt if others turn away from him because of the sounds he makes.

      TS is a disorder that is not easy to diagnosis and mild TS can be even harder. You need a professional that treats TS to review your concerns and not all Doctors out there know enough about TS to do this.

      You also mentioned OCD concerns..this should be reviewed by a physician too.

      If your son has OCD and/or TS these disorders will not go away on their own and must be monitored and possibly treated depending on the opinion of our physician.

      Please keep us posted on your findings and feel free to ask any questions that come to mind. The link Steve provided will help you determine if you have a concern and you may print it and take it with you to the family Doctor to look at too.

      Take Care and please know you will find support here.


      • #4
        5 yrd old son

        Welcome momatty

        I am glad you popped in with your story. Don't worry about getting all the details out in your first post... you can post as often as needed

        The behaviors that you describe sound "tic-like" but we cannot diagnose online as I'm sure you are aware but if you see commonalities among what you read on other sections of this forum and in the diagnostic criterion, I would suggest you start journaling your thoughts and observations and the relative time lines of how long he has been doing these things. If you are trying to see if he is "just doing it" , then watch and listen from afar, if he is still making noises and no one is in the room he is probably not aware he is doing it... more reflective of involuntary tics. The other red flags that we see as parents are the phrases "I can't help it" or "I need to" .

        I have 4 sons ( two older ones have TS+) and the two younger ones are a twin and 5 years old. I have always said I wouldn't be surprised if they too were diagnosed but they are not, yet anyway :roll: but are being followed. One of my twin has clearly been demonstrating the behaviors of ADHD as well as tics like spitting, chewing his clothes, etc while the other has presented with a lot of OCD type behaviors and that was it I thought till recently. Two weeks ago he started making a noise deep in his throat just as you described, when asked he says he didn't hear anything. I have found that he has been making this most often as he settles at night in his room or when he is quietly watching cartoons. This is a red flag for me so my advice to you is to watch and listen and document what catches your attention.

        please keep us posted and remember at 5 years old doctors are not so quick to jump to a diagnosis because some behaviors do fade with maturation and they will want to be sure before making a final diagnosis.

        TSFC Homepage


        • #5
          5 yrd old son

          Hi Again,
          Thank you for the advice, I just have a few more questions. Our son's appointment with his Dr is in 2 weeks, but I thought I would find out what I could before hand.

          Is it common for one simple thing to take place but then lead to a tic. Let me explain. There have been two such situations.

          1) His hair was getting a bit long in the front and one day he shook his head to get his bangs out of the way. Suddenly he was doing it constantly and seemingly uncontrollably. I cut his hair and he is still doing it. He'll sometimes do it three or four times in a row...sometimes its like he can't stop.

          2)He had a bit of a cold and his voice was getting hoarse. He was asking me something and he finished his sentence with 'okay?' His voice cracked so he said it again...'okay?' Then again. Now he does it constantly. "okay, okay, okay." At first he said he was checking his voice, but his cold is long gone and he is still doing it.

          So I am wondering if it typical for tics to start this way. I am finding lately that he seems to be getting worse, and I am getting frustrated. It is near impossible to have a 'normal' conversation with him.

          One last thing, he doesn't do any of this when he is sleeping(he ends up in bed with me alot). Does this mean anything? I really appreciate any information you can give me, I would like to be as prepared as I can for his appointment.

          Thank you.


          • #6
            5 yrd old son

            It is good to hear that you have an appointment soon.

            In response to your questions, any child is like a sponge, they soak up our feelings and responses, tension and worries.

            For this reason if your son does not understand what is happening to him, feels your stress & worries he can feel "isolated" and become more dependent for your affection and support.

            I've seen this in my own so and once he understands what could be the problem or that I am trying to find the answer for him and it is OK, the stresses and reactions subside and he becomes more independent again and his tics slow down.

            The example you provided about the hair, I've been through myself. My son told me he felt the hair on his forehead even after it was cut. My son has sensory issues. He would shake his head to the side and brush it with his hand even though the hair was gone.

            The same thing can happen over a tag, a piece of clothing, it is like a ghost sensation that keeps happening after the experience is over. In time it will go away but that can take a long time if the child does not know how to manage the process.

            The example about the word "okay" - my son use to like to hear himself speak after having a cold and his vocal cords would strain. He liked the voice cracking and would continue to say the same word over & over to get the same sensation even after the cold was over. He was about your son's age when he did this for the first time and eventually stopped when it did not give him the same satisfaction.

            I was never given confirmation if it was a tic or really just a little boy thing or sensory thing.

            He still does it when he gets sick and now that his voice is cracking once in awhile due to his age, he is enjoying it and repeats the same phrase over and over to get it to happen again.

            Does your son seem a bit excited about the action? Mine does, like he is getting something from it.

            Keep us posted and I hope you have been keeping a journal of everything your son has experienced to review with the Doctor. It does help in the process for them to understand the frequency of events and you can find common triggers by logging a daily recap of the day.


            • #7
              5 yrd old son


              The ghost feeling is common to people who have had their limbs removed.

              It is called "Phantom limb syndrome" and it happens to 70% of amputees.

              They feel the limb long after it is removed and it is very difficult to treat.



              • #8
                5 yrd old son


                Is it common for one simple thing to take place but then lead to a tic
                It seems some people with Tourette report hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation. Your son's response to his long hair might just qualify for this reaction.

                Other common sensory stimulants are labels inside shirts, tight collars or tight fitting clothing which seems to require correction by twitching a shoulder, twisting the neck or other muscle reaction.

                The same type of reaction might occur with a cold as your son has experienced, where the voice or blocked nasal passages trigger a muscle reaction.

                These muscle reactions are sometimes temporary tics while others may last longer.

                As you may know, tics tend to wax and wane, so one's tic repertoire can change over months or seasons.

                In anticipation of your son's upcoming consultation, you may find the links in this posting of interest.
                TouretteLinks Forum