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Nervous tic,is this ok?

(19 Posts)
hellymelly Sat 04-Dec-10 21:33:01

My dd is five,nearly six,and she has been having a really tricky time at school-not happy in year one,very anxious and generally not her usual sunny self.The school have been really brilliant and are doing all they can do support her,but she has developed a strange thing where she sort of rolls her eyes about,opens them very wide,and sends strange little glances sideways.It looks really bizarre and it is really worrying me.It started at the height of her problems in school,around mid October,but it has got worse and she is doing it all the time even when relaxing at home watching tv.
It is upsetting to see as she looks so disturbed, and I'm worried that she may get teased at school.Has anyone any experience of this?

hellymelly Sat 04-Dec-10 22:04:30


AphraBen Sat 04-Dec-10 23:14:01

I have experience of having done this kind of thing at a similar age. My parents decided not to make me aware of it and it eventually stopped. they told me much later on. I would do things in a routine way when feeling tired / stressed. I think one of the reasons I stopped was because it was never brought up. But also perhaps you can provide her with a distraction, some activity to do (knitting, sewing, drawing etc) while watching tv ?

hellymelly Sun 05-Dec-10 00:23:24

Thanks AphraBen. I ignored it for a while,but now have been gently asking her not to do it,perhaps that is the wrong tactic then? I thought maybe it had started because she had hair getting in her eyes and then become a habitual thing ,so i thought if I mentioned it she would become aware of doing it and stop.She looks so anxious and stressed doing it that I'm really worried about her.

AphraBen Sun 05-Dec-10 04:12:37

I hope someone else comes along with a professional perspective for you. I do think that stress and anxiety can embody many different forms. The thing is, you're supporting her as is the school - and there clearly are things happening to stress her out. Its not like she's started doing this out of no where with no root cause. I hope her anxieties subside and she feels happier, sometimes its just about time passing and new friendships and so on.

hellymelly Mon 06-Dec-10 22:01:44

We have decided to take her out of school for now,home ed for a while,and work on boosting her confidence and building her up so that maybe she will want to go back to school when her little sister starts next September.She is begging all the time not to be sent to school and I think with the nervous tic etc,she is at the end of her rope and needs some time out.She is extremely clever and is enjoying the school work but not anything else,and she seems really overwhelmed.We have kept her there all this term as the head has been so kind and helpful and we really hoped things would turn around but she is getting worse not better.sad

mylifewithstrangers Mon 06-Dec-10 22:15:27

Does sound strange. I have a little story - though don't want to worry you though it may not be the same thing.

I used to Au Pair for a 6 year old girl. She started to do something that sounds very similar - a sort of stary-eyed rolling about thing. It went unremarked on for quite a long time, but gradually gradually other symptoms appeared - she seemed in a kind of trance, limbs went rigid, rapid blinking when the trance ended. At this point her parents became concerend and she was eventually diagnosed with Petit Mal seizures (not uncommon in childhood). Her condition progressed to several episodes a day during which she often lost control of her bladder and became upset when they finished. Fortunately she was very successfully treated with anti-seizure medication and as is common with Petit Mal she grew out of it and is completely unaffected now as a young adult.

Like I say, don't want to worry you but I would get it checked out.

hellymelly Mon 06-Dec-10 22:44:37

Well thanks for that info mylife,I will talk to my GP then just to rule that out.I don't think it is petit mal as she can stop if you ask her to,but she can only stop at that point,she then just does it again,but now that you've mentioned it I can see it is worth making sure thats not what going on.

hellymelly Tue 07-Dec-10 20:45:52

anyone else had any experience of nervous tics?

garrowismylaw Wed 08-Dec-10 11:00:00

My DS (8) has a nervous tic where he sort of rolls his eyes and opens his mouth in a grimace all at same time.
Has been on and off for a couple of years. Think he will grow out of it eventually but I try not to bring it up as he seems to do it all the more then. So if you try not to make her aware that you have noticed it she may just grow out of it naturally.

rabbitstew Wed 08-Dec-10 11:44:15

Yes, hellymelly. My ds1 is also exceptionally bright, was exceptionally anxious at school for reception and year 1 and also rolled his eyes, grimaced and had various other tics. The tics didn't bother me, tbh, albeit they are obviously worse the more stressed you are, because that sort of thing has happened to other members of the family in childhood and isn't an issue for them as grown ups (and was only really a minor issue in childhood). By the way, apart from one little boy in reception who commented on it, no other child ever seemed to tease him or pick him up on it. It was very embarrassing to watch in class assemblies, though, albeit I reminded myself everyone else was focusing on their child, not mine!

The school was fantastic - he had several one-one sessions with a teacher with whom he rapidly felt relaxed and that helped with the anxiety. What helped most, though, was that in Year 2, he now has a special friend, so feels more liked at school, and his brother is at the school with him and plays with him at playtime, and the work is now more interesting (albeit the school is concerned that they are unable to stretch him, because his anxieties make it quite difficult). His tics are really quite subtle, now (I don't notice anything at the moment, except for an annoying little hum he tends to make when he's listening to me reading to him!!!). He is now a really happy little boy and I think that is a lot more important than the difficulty of his work at this stage in his life. I am glad I didn't take him out of school, now, as he has turned a corner, but he was a sad, almost depressed child in year 1, who only felt safe with his teacher.

In ds1's case, the school was so aware of the disparity between his obvious intelligence and his attitude in the classroom and ability to get on with his work, that we did end up seeing a psychologist, who confirmed he is extremely intellectually gifted, but has problems with empathy - he understands facial expressions, is hugely imaginative and thoughtful, but doesn't really understand WHY other children react to him in the way that they do, so finds it difficult to make friends, even though I'm sure he does share some interests with the other children (I don't think liking "Beast Quest" books, playing spy games, making up mad stories and joking about bottoms is that unusual for a 6-year old!). His intelligence makes him acutely aware of his difficulty (he also has a connective tissue disorder, which doesn't help his confidence), but is also I think, a way out of the problem - he can learn to understand what other children find comes naturally (and in the meantime, maths and English come naturally to him, so he doesn't need to work quite so hard at those for the time being!!!). Ds1 has just received a diagnosis of aspergers syndrome, but a child can have an awful lot of these types of difficulties without this meriting a diagnosis (in other words, you don't need to have aspergers to have similar hang-ups!).

ps making ds1 feel totally secure and loved at home really helped, so I think you are doing the right thing, and definitely worth trying to get your dd back into school next year, when she'll have the support of her sister, if not before.

HollyTwat Wed 08-Dec-10 11:56:49

My DS1 who's 9 started having various tics from about age 5.

He's had rolling eyes, opening his mouth (I know this one starts when his mouth is sore at the corners), blinking eyes, pulling at his collar, blowing as if blowing a candle and a few I can't remember.

I usually mention them, I know you're not supposed to, but I thought if he was aware he could try to stop. I took him to the doctors as I was worried that they were nervous tics related to the contact issues with his dad. I was told they probably start because of a genuine reason (sore mouth) and then develops into a habit.

They are usually short lived, sometimes replaced by another one straight after, or we went for a year without any (no contact with dad at that time). I also had his eyes tested and he needs glasses for close up work, so that may help.

I've been told not to worry, that I shouldn't mention them but I find it very hard not to.

I don't think other children notice really, he has never been teased afaik.

SleepingLion Wed 08-Dec-10 12:06:12

My DS, who's 8, has had a range of nervous tics and I have posted on here about them before. His current one includes eye rolling and shrugging. He is not especially anxious and I am not sure why he does them. I try to ignore it as much as I can; if he is shrugging very rapidly, I rub his shoulders to try to relax them.

The children at school don't seem to notice - he has never said that anyone comments on it.

fel1x Wed 08-Dec-10 12:09:24

My DS is 5 and has had a few tics up till now.
He's had the blinking one, a coughing/clearing his throat one and at the moment has a sort of 'mmm mmm' noise one.
The only thing that worked is to completely ignore it. The more he is aware of it, the more he seems to do it.

mono3 Wed 08-Dec-10 12:14:22

My DS1 who is also 9 has had various tics since the age of 5 which started just before he started school. They also are worse when stressed and often seem to coincide to him being run down/ill. However as Hollytwat says they seem to start due to a reason then he just continues to do it for a while. For example - repeated clearing of his throat when he has a cough but then it goes on well after he is better.

He also is very bright and capable at school but does worry about things. He is very socially aware and has a great group of friends and is a very happy content boy.

We were told by the doc that it is hormone related and will come and go in cycles and he will grow out of it. I also try to ignore it (which is hard at times) and have asked his teachers not to mention it either.
I am amazed that other children have never commented on it or my DD. I am always disappointed when it returns as always hoping that it is over permanently.

His tics are always worse when watching TV as well. Don't know if due to him being relaxed and not aware of what he is doing.

Hope your DD becomes more settled at school.

hellymelly Wed 08-Dec-10 22:46:24

I had noticed my dds tic is more obvious when watching tv as well as when stressed.Maybe tv is less relaxing when you are small.Rabbitstew thanks for that post,I felt sad reading it,in that I'm still wondering if we have done the right thing in taking her out,but she was so much happier today,really happier than she's been in months,and was eye-rolling much less so all that is good.She did see the Ed psych,who assessed her as highly intelligent but also very advanced in terms of her social skills and moral awareness etc,she felt that with help and support the anxiety would subside,but after a particularly grim day on the weekend when she looked so miserable and stressed at a classmates party that it was painful to see,we decided she needed a break from school.It would really have helped her to have a special friend ,and she has a little girl she likes,but no really great chum.I think she may have been picked on a bit too,although I might be wrong.I feel a mix of relief and sadness,relief that she looks happier already biut sadness and worry that we may have done the wrong thing,that she may have got over this eventually.Oh dear! sad feeling particularly bad about it all tonight,I think the stress has finally hit me as I've been trying to be positive for her for so long.thanks for the help.

HollyTwat Wed 08-Dec-10 23:48:09

HellyMelly you've done what you think is right. Stand by it and it will be ok. It's not a final decision you can change your mind if you think that's right.
We all do what we believe to be the right thing. I stopped contact with ds1's dad unless supervised and the tics went away for all that time. Contact is happening again and so are the tics. But we'll deal with that in time.

rabbitstew Thu 09-Dec-10 17:46:45

hellymelly, don't feel bad. You are doing the right thing for the moment. It sounds like your dd is more mature for her age than her peers and therefore finding it difficult to relate to them, not because of any fault of hers, but maybe because they recognise that she is somehow different in the way she views the world. My ds2 is more like this - absolutely nothing wrong at all with his empathy or social skills (he is like the polar opposite, in this respect, of his brother and is extremely sensitive to other peoples' thoughts and feelings), it's just that he seems to think at an older child's level, so will laugh at jokes for more subtle reasons than the other children and try to relate to children his age in a way that would be more appropriate with a child a couple of years older. Fortunately, he has a brother two years above him (said ds1...), so does an awful lot of relating with said children in the playground! I think he will have trouble making real friends in his own year until the children in his year are more Year 2 sort of age, because they should have caught up socially by then... Until then, it may also be a slightly rocky road ahead for ds2 (we'll just have to wait and see), although because his social and emotional maturity are as advanced as his cognitive abilities, I'm hoping the school will find it easier to deal with, as it is a very good school in which ds2 and ds1 are both currently happy. My dh was a bit like this when young and ended up going to private school on full scholarships from the age of 6, because his local state school just said they couldn't deal with him, his parents couldn't afford to pay for private education but a very good local private school took pity on him... sad.

hellymelly Fri 10-Dec-10 16:13:31

Thankyou rabbitstew and hollytwat (!!) That (rabbitstew) is pretty much what the Ed psych said about her,and certainly she is more comfortable with older children,or very small children who she can fuss over and mother. I feel slightly better today as it is clear how much happier she is and for now I'm trying to focus on that and not worry about her general education.I think we will home ed for at least the next two terms and then try school again when she's a bit older.Her confidence has plummeted so much that I want to build her up a bit emotionally before we try again.Have found this such a hard decision,we've been worrying about her so much for months that only now can I let myself feel upset.

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