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ADD, Tourette tics and medications...

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  • ADD, Tourette tics and medications...


    I'm from Winnipeg, MB and a single mother of one 10 yr old boy (soon to be 11). First I'd like to say, my son had been having constant school issues since about the last 3 mths of Kindergarten, he's now going in to grade 6 this fall. I voiced my concern with his school, the school psychologist and our family Dr., and it got us know where. Since grade 1, he was constantly being sent to the office for things like getting in to conflicts with peers and teachers, not listening well at all and VERY distracted often and distracting to his classmates. He did not handle anger well and was often frustrated and at times quite defiant with his teachers. Yet when he's alone without other children around and if he's with me or anyone he really knows and is close to, he's very well behaved, etc. for the most part.

    During the past several yrs there have been thing I noticed in him that were often gone unnoticed by others. For example, during my son's 3rd and 4th b-day parties, he did not react well or have much fun...he seemed to not like the attention and all the noise and happenings going on around him. He did not like Fireworks or anything that was loud, it caused him great distress. He's always been very intelligent, talking already in 3 word sentences and speaking very clearly, since about 15-16 mths. He also, since toddlerhood, is often very afraid of trying new things and taking risks in the way of sports, etc. - it's like he is afraid of people laughing at him or judgeing him. He went through much anxiety and still does.

    When it comes to his schooling, he won't do or complete the work required and for his last two reports cards this year in grade 5 (this incl. the final report card) he didn't even get "marks", he rec'd a 5-7 paragraph letter on his progress, strengths and weaknesses as they said they couldn't mark him without seeing and assessing hand written work, etc....yet when he does his math and spelling tests he often scores 100% or close to it. He is also in French immersion and does not get French at home. Since grade 1 I have been told by teachers how well he speaks and grasps the language and that I should introduce another. I have also been told since Kindergarten until now that he reads and comprehends at a much higher level and one of the remarks in his last report card was that he has advanced knowledge in science and has much to offer in class, if he'd only wait his turn. During the past 3 yrs the school's have tried to give him an enhanced curriculum program but it seems this does not help or interest my son either, as he's often too distracted and such so he still does not complete or do the work at all. Yet just last week (on his own accord) he completed a classic IQ test (with no assistance) from one of the internet sites geared toward senior highschool students and adults and scored 121 (which I've been told is exceptional for a 10 yr old).

    So, after all this and me being at the end of my rope not knowing how to deal with it all or what to do or what direction to take next, I basically snapped....what I mean by that is that I was home recovering from major surgery this past Feb/Mar and of course kept getting phone calls from the school about my son's behaviour or conflicts and during the talk I had with my son, I felt that was it and I had had enough of the reasons and excuses and I ended up slapping my son (which was SO wrong). I told him not to hide the hurt feelings from me or anyone else and that when he had his next meeting with the school psychologist, to tell him of what happened (he always asks him how things are going at home).

    I also wanted to mention, in grade 3 and once in grade 4, my son had also been suspended and had to stay home for not listening, etc....not because he was a bully or for vulgar language or for fighting but because the school simply did not know what or how to deal with him anymore....they had run out of "dicsipline options"). After much tension between myself and his school (which seemed to not want to help me and my son but to punish him over and over again), I enrolled him in another school this past year. They have more helpful and I believe there was a slight improvement but not enough.

    Ok, after all of the above, my son did indeed tell the school Psych. what had happened at home and the very next day I received a phone call from him letting me know that he and my son had a chat and that he was going to be calling the school psychiatrist to get my son in for an assessment ASAP. I'm sure you realize my frustration and anger....I had to physically hit my son before the school divional psychologist (whom has been working with my son and I the last 3 yrs) FINALLY refers him to a specialized child psychiatrist.

    So, the assessment was done late February where he was diagnosed with ADD and then prescribed Ritalin which he was only on for about 3 weeks but it seemed to not help or more so, it didn't last long enough (only 4 hrs - and my son does NOT want to be given meds at school). So then it was changed to Dexadrine where he was taking 15 mg with breakfast every morning with weekends off. However, about 3 weeks ago I noticed what would be considered Tourette tics, so I called the Dr. immediately to let him know what was happening and told him that I sent him to school without taking his medication that morning, to which he replied "good thinking, that's exactly what I would have told you to do." I then met with the Dr. a few days later and he suggested letting him stay off the medication for a few more days and to monitor him and these tics to see if they get better, worse or disappear entirely (btw, a couple of the facial tics were there before any meds, but it was sporatic and not often so I and all his teachers, etc., thought it was a habit of sorts). I kept him off the meds and the tics indeed got much, he was back to having them more less frequent and the new tic that had showed up while taking the dexadrine had disappeared entirely. Then the Dr. said to go back to giving him the dexadrine but only 1/2 the dose (which was only 7.5 mgs). My son said he wasn't noticing a difference in it helping him and again, the newer tic had returned and all of the tics become more frequent within the first 3-4 days. So again, we stopped the dexadrine. Now the Dr. has started him on Strattera at 18 mg every morning with his breakfast...this began just 72 hours ago (not even that yet) and again, the tics have returned and have become more noticable and it's not even been a full 3 days!! I was told that if anything this medication would actually be better for tics because it's a non-stimulant, etc.

    I'm so confused and at my witts end! I don't know if what we're doing here is the right thing for my son, all this trial and error with different medications and now it seems they've brought out other symptoms that weren't that big of an issue (if any at all) prior to these medications. My son doesn't even notice half the time that these tics are even happening, he seems competely unaware. Does my son actually have Tourettes and if so, why would Strattera that is a non-stimluant make these tics worse?? And if he doesn't have Tourette's than why does he have tics at all?? I am so lost and confused not knowing what's right or wrong anymore in dealing with these long standing issues my son has been having for so long now ....I mean geez, he's 11 yrs old in 2 mths and it's only now that someone seems to finally be listening....and though he seems to be very aware of what the issues are when it comes to my son, the meds he's prescribing may be helping with the ADD but seem to have these other side effects like the tics (also often feeling tired and loss of appetite).

    If anyone knows what I'm talking about, I'd love to hear from you!!
    Any advice or suggestions would help!<br /><br />Helpless in Winnipeg...

  • #2
    ADD, Tourette tics and medications...

    Hi BeezyGirl,

    Welcome to the TSFC website, we are happy that you found us.

    There is Tourette Syndrome support groups all across Canada for support resources in your community and click Here for the address .

    was diagnosed with ADD
    Your son was diagnosed with ADD and not Tourette's Syndrome. Is your doctor watching your son for the possibility of TS?

    We have many discussions on various tics throughout the body in the tic parade. Please jump into any discussion that you want or start a new one.

    You are not alone and we are always here to talk to and give support to you and your family.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


    • #3
      ADD, Tourette tics and medications...

      Hi BeezyGirl

      I can relate to what you are going through. My oldest was not diagnosed till grade 3 and 9 years old due to teachers not agreeing with me there was something not right. He too was higher than average when tested and was reading well beyond his grade level. This too is common... kids like ours who have attention issues tend to hear everything and struggle with prioitizing what is important... so they often present as auditory learners and have a wealth of information. With my oldest, I was seeing the ADHD and not the TS because I was not aware of TS. From my son's diagnosis came my diagnosis.

      It is very frustrating but it sounds like the doctors involved are knowledgeable about TS and how the meds have been impacting your son. I would suggest you get in contact with a doctor or pediatrician who has a special interest in TS.

      I was told that if anything this medication would actually be better for tics because it's a non-stimulant, etc.
      From my personal experince and from what I know this is true. Keep in mind that stimulants are believed by some to cause tics yet many others believe it is not the stimulant causing the tics, but that once the stimulant does it's job to settle the child, then the tics just become more obvious. So, with the non-stimulant it makes more sense that the latter arguement be true.

      I would strongly suggest you contact the office of the TSFC and talk to them. They just produced a great book called, Understanding Tourette Syndrome, A handbook for Families.

      The frustration you are feeling is so normal. Many of the Moms on this forum will tell you the same. There there is no medical test to diagnose TS, the process is very long because the doctors need to rule out all other possible explanations, they don't typically want to jump to diagnosis.

      Is there anyone in your family or your son's dad's family with TS or ADHD, or even tics that may never have been diagnosed? These disorders are genetic and typically can be traced back once awareness if heightened.

      This is a great forum and very accepting of all who join in. There are many great people who check in regularly who are more than willing to share their stories and experiences and offer suggestions. Please stay connected with us and ask any question. We try to be available 24/7.

      TSFC Homepage


      • #4
        ADD, Tourette tics and medications...

        Hi BeezyGirl:

        First let me welcome you to the forum and say that you have already been provided some good direction for support and answers.

        What you have described I can relate to myself and my own son was diagnosed late with TS.

        In my son's case TS surfaced much more with the onset of puberty so know at age 13 the tics just happen and change as the days pass.

        I also know from our experience that some medications for ADHD seem to create more notice of the tics and causes frustration for my son.

        It has taken time for us to determine what & when he takes medications and it is something that evolves like your son growing up.

        It does sound like your Doctor is trying to help. I would like to suggest that you request a referral to someone that specializes in multiple disorders like TS+.
        Possibly then you can find the balance you need and your own physician will be given the support and direction they need to provide for your son.

        We are currently at this stage again ourselves. Patience can be a real virtue during the process but it is important for all of you.

        I hope you can find some time to do some reading on the forum. You will find you are far from being alone in your quest.

        Take care


        • #5
          ADD, Tourette tics and medications...

          Hi Breezy
          Welcome to this board! It's hard kind of being uncertain and I know that..I have ADHD and all and tics came about for me too while on medication. I was just pretty much locked up in my own head in my own lil world. So I was "a problem child" i guess. My parents held off medication b/c they didnt like the idea. I fell behind, tihngs were bad. So I tried medication when it came down to HS, b/c my parents had enough and I had secretly ditched school for a month and flunking everything. Like your son, I have had facial tics long before medication on and off. When I was on Ritalin they came out in all different kinds..rapidly changing I say id get a new tic every 2days. I didnt know they were tics..Ritalin gave rebound effect so I went through all different trails of the stimulants. They all made me tic. I noticed I couldnt help it and they grew to be complex like kicking and imitating things. Stopped meds, and I was still ticing. Strattera didnt work for me and the ADHD was way worse then the tics, so medication it was. Im not adderall now. My doctor told us he thinks i have TS, b/c i have alot of the things that r found with it and my tics dont fit under the other tic disorders but TS. Time will tell. And looking back over the yrs ive realized ive had tics on and off we just never new. So did the medication casue tics? All my drs say they highly doubt it, but they think it brought them out. Ppl dont really kno alot about it I guess. But im learning to deal with it...its better than being in my own world and not bein able to feel. I actually feel better now, I dont feel like i have all this stuff like ocd adhd and the list of things that go on but rather TS. Im better now i just happen to have tics. I had those side effects waited it out for a week and they disapeared.
          This may not help you in finding the answers. But I want you to know that I can see what your talkin about. And even if I couldn't people here will support you anyways. Best wishes from me to you!


          • #6
            ADD, Tourette tics and medications...

            Hi Alley,

            I am really happy that you are feeling better about your health! Understanding more about your medical health and especially your TS will help you feel empowered.

            Education is the key to understanding and coping with any medical health concern and Alley you are to be commended for being proactive about your health.

            But I want you to know that I can see what your talking about.
            You are doing a great job in helping others, thanks Alley!