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progressing from transient tics

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  • progressing from transient tics

    I posted most of this in the introductions forum, but this is probably a better thread for it. I'm wondering if anyone who has a child with Tourette's started out like we did?

    My 8 yr old dd has had transient type tics since she was two. First was quite freaky - head jerking, blinking, and grimacing all at the same time - about every 5 minutes while she was focussed (Teletubbies on TV?) lasting about a week. Took her to the doc and he said it was from blackfly bites (the tics had stopped before we got in for the appointment - it was a bit of a challenge to describe what was happening lol). About a year later she had about 10 days of throat clearing - generally while she was eating. again they stopped before we got to the doc - he sent her for a neck xray(different doctor - I did explain about the previous tic experience). Other tics I've noticed are humming, and grimacing - generally only one at a time and lasting less than 2 weeks. Right now it's the throat clearing again, more prevalent than when she was three (4-5 times in a row about every 45 seconds)- accompanied by a facial grimace (she says it makes her mouth feel better). We're coming on to the third week and hoping for it to go as suddenly as it came. As there has always been more than three months between the tics I'm hoping it's transient tic disorder and that she'll grow out of it but it does seem to be progressing - she also was super sensitive to noise when she was little and would freak out b/c of the seams of her socks (not so much of a problem now).

    B/c she's in grade three now I decided to talk to her about tics (not Tourette's yet) in case her classmates are wondering why she won't stop clearing her throat. That's the part that really saddens me if this is tourette's- the potential for negative peer reaction. I know we can educate and inform but kids are still kids and I know she's going to have challenges in that regard.

    if anyone has seen a progression of transient tics like this drop me a line. Thanks

  • #2
    progressing from transient tics

    the tics had stopped before we got in for the appointment - it was a bit of a challenge to describe what was happening
    As there is no diagnosis at this time, we can only speak hypothetically.

    A characteristic of Tourette is that tics wax and wane over a period of weeks, years and seasons, so if indeed your daughter is diagnosed with Tourette, the coming and going of tic expression would not be surprising.

    Another consideration might be tic suppression, a common defense strategy employed by some people with Tourette. Sometimes it's done unconsciously and other times people can "train" to suppress their tics.

    It should be noted that not everyone with Tourette can suppress tics, as these people's tics are totally uncontrollable.

    Suppressed tics result in a build up of "tic energy" and at some point this energy has to be released, so it is usually necessary to get out of the place where suppression is occurring and to get the tics out of one's system!

    the potential for negative peer reaction. I know we can educate and inform but kids are still kids and I know she's going to have challenges in that regard
    You are quite right, however today's environment is generally more understanding and tolerant of people with special behaviors.

    You can assist your daughter by re inforcing her self confidence, helping her understand her tics are not "bad" and that she is not doing something "wrong".

    Many parents rehearse and role play an explanation of Tourette to friends or to strangers as a pro active measure which can diffuse a potentially difficult situation.

    To assist in your understanding of the diagnostic criteria used by physicians to confirm Tourette please have a look at this Forum posting.

    You may wish to use the resource materials referred to in that posting for developing your daughter's tic behavior explanation.
    TouretteLinks Forum


    • #3
      progressing from transient tics

      Your daughter sounds very similar to my son. His tics started out much the same way. Throat clearing, and some months later the head jerking.
      He's had a lot of different tics, but they do come and go. He is 13 now and his latest is a high pitched screech. Very hard on the ears..I don't think he is doing it at school. I asked him if he was and he didn't think he was. He has not been able to suppress his tics until recently. This year he is fortunate enough to have a very understanding teacher who simply ignores his tics. Some of his school years have been very stressful. He had one teacher who refused to believe that the tics were involuntary. He has had a hard time with some of his peers with teasing, etc. For a long time he would not admit he had Tourettes, but now he is starting to educate himself more about Tourettes and he is accepting himself better. We have a wonderful local Tourettes Clinic which has helped a lot. My advice is let your daughter know what she has - if you get a diagnosis of Tourettes- and help her accept that it is something she will live with and have to learn to cope with. But it is not easy, sometimes your heart just breaks for your kid. I admire my son so much how he forgets the teasing, etc and goes on.
      Good luck with your daughter.


      • #4
        progressing from transient tics

        Thanks Lena. With your son, was there more than three month's between tics for the first few years? and how about now - how long are they gone when they go? We've noticed she's not ticcing as much now, but I spoke to her teacher yesterday about it - asked her to keep her eyes and ears open for anything else and she mentioned that she did notice my daughter emitting a little short hum while she's doing quiet work. I totally missed that one. We have four daughters, the baby is three month's old so I guess it's never quiet enough around here for me to hear a hum. Makes me wonder how long that's been going on. Shows the importance of having everybody on board for observation's sake. I was also looking back in her school work last night and was surprised to notice that her printing and drawing is markedly messier (the formation, spacing, organization) lately than it was in September, October and November.


        • #5
          progressing from transient tics

          Atleast your teacher notices. I remember asking one teacher last year about my son's throat clearing (it was constant) and she said she never noticed yet when I volunteered he was doing it. This year I asked his grade 1 teacher about his tics and she also replied that she never saw them. I'm standing there watching him blink constantly while she's answering me. I have never talked to my son or the teachers about TS only the tics because the anxieties and OCD has come and gone at this point and never affected his school. My son knows he has tics so when a new one comes along and I ask him about it he'll just reply, "oh that's my new tic" as if there is no big deal. When he had OCD thoughts we also normalized it and said everyone gets bad thoughts and it's okay but if you want them to gone away we can help. After seeing a psychologist and doing some therapy it seemed to have gone away (for now). He knows he is different, but so is everyone else at some degree, but also knows that he is very much "normal" as well and that is a key for his self esteem. Now i can say how things would be if the OCD never went away but at the moment we are fortunate and he is learning about himself in small portions and gaining coping mechanisms along the way.