Advanced search

Sniff sniff sniffing...Tourettes or impending brain damage?

(18 Posts)
Spagblog Wed 22-Aug-07 08:26:46

My son (3) has developed an irritating sniff. His nostrils aren't particularly wide and by sniffing hard he can almost close them!

DH is verging on hysteria and is convinced that DS has developed tourettes. He is demanding I take him to the Drs today as if it isn't tourettes, then there must be something wrong with the wideness of his airways and if I don't get it "sorted" then he will suffer from brain damage due to lack of oxygen.


Any hints or tips with dealing with either of them?

3sEnough Wed 22-Aug-07 08:29:28

I would take him to the drs - fully expecting to be laughed out of the surgery - but at least then you'll know. I would then studiously ignore it, although in reality I suspect dh may send him to his room/go himself to avoid the noise. My ds plays with his hair which sends my dh loopy too!

Spagblog Wed 22-Aug-07 08:31:52

Its always me that has to take the kids to the Dr when DH decides that they have something fatal.
I am more of the "leave it and see" school.

I am sure that the Drs think I am totally neurotic

chaoszone7 Wed 22-Aug-07 08:32:12

My son has Tourettes syndrome and ADHA and was diagnosed at the age of 3 1/2. He started off by squeezing his eyes shut every few seconds and then did the sniffing thing.
He is almost 16 now and got so bad he has been on medication since the age of 4. he would also throw his head back and jerk his arms and progressed to the swearing.

I wouldnt automatically assume it is Tourettes, all small children go thru a TIC stage even more so when they start nursery/playgroup etc.
HAve a chat with your gp and see what s/he says to reassure you. BAsically just ignore it as it may be an attention thing. the more he knows he winds you up and gets a response the more it will happen. If you just walk away without saying anything when he does it, he will soon get the emssage it is unwanted behaviour.
GOod luck...
From Jen (mum to 5)

Hulababy Wed 22-Aug-07 08:33:56

Well DH needs to do some more research re Tourettes I think. From what I have read online it can't be diagnosed until later, onset around 7yo at earliest, and after a year of the doctor monitoring the involuntary tics or movements.

The sniffing could be for more reasons. Many little ones have repeated habits and tics, etc. I know when Dh was younger he would develop an annoying cough for a while most years and there was no medical reason for it.

Hulababy Wed 22-Aug-07 08:35:02

x posts with chaoszone7 - they have real life experience of diagnosis so ignore my 7 year old comment; that came from some of the sites I read and not RL experiemce.

Spagblog Wed 22-Aug-07 08:38:35

His nephew has it so he is concerned about any genetic links.

Thanks for the info chaoszone7

I too assumed that it couldn't be diagnosed until later in life.

forsale Wed 22-Aug-07 08:39:44

it could be something as simple as a slight hayfever reaction - give him piriton and see how it goes. Also i find that if i have dairy my passages clog up - i always felt like i had a slight cold until i gave dairy up

FioFio Wed 22-Aug-07 08:45:00

Message withdrawn

binkleandflip Wed 22-Aug-07 08:49:29

my dd went through a stage of grunting around three - thankfully she grew out of it, Now she is five she has developed the habit of snuffling and clearing her voice when watching tv/dvd - but only then and it is constant. It's come on very recently and I hope it goes off soon as it drives me mad!

I try not to comment on it but it is very distracting - she did it all the way through a recent trip to the cinema. It is only ever when she's watching something - so quite absent-mindedly done I think - anyone have any experience of this?

lucyellensmum Wed 22-Aug-07 09:34:32

spagbog - your DH is panicking over nothing, i recognise that because i do it all the time.

I do however think you should take DS to the docs, but not for those reasons. I think it might be his adenoids as i was exactly the same. Other than that, i thnk its nothing.

TotalChaos Wed 22-Aug-07 23:08:23

might be worth checking with docs if DS continues to sniff, but agree with Fio, sounds like DH regularly overly stresses about health (the brain damage fears sounds a bit overly anxious)

Spagblog Tue 28-Aug-07 18:31:51

DS has started strange blinking which he doesn't seem to be able to control. Feel less confident now and more worried. chaoszone7...Any advice?

mimsum Tue 28-Aug-07 22:37:40


my ds (10) was diagnosed with Tourette's at 4 - not true that it can't be diagnosed earlier - however kids have to have both vocal and motor tics for more than a year in order to be diagnosed. Vocal tics can be anything from sniffing, coughing, grunting etc to full-blown coprolalia (uncontrollable swearing) although that happens in only a minority of severe cases. Motor tics can be things like blinking, grimacing, head jerking or sudden arm movements

If kids just have vocal OR motor tics then they will only be diagnosed with a "tic disorder" - if the tics are present for less than a year then it will be considered a "transient tic disorder". Loads and loads of kids have transient tic disorders - it's very common especially around junior school age and nothing to worry about unless it's affecting the child's quality of life. My dd had vocal tics for a while between 2.5 and 3.5 but they never bothered her, and they've now disappeared.

Tics are involuntary movements - they're not done to get attention, to annoy people or to wind anyone up. Children may be completely unaware that they're doing them, or be horribly self-conscious and worried that everyone's staring. However, if their attention is brought to the tic it will make it worse - it's like someone telling you that you have a really itcy mosquito bite but you absolutely mustn't scratch it - the urge just becomes uncontrollable. Most kids can hold tics in for a while once they realise what's happening, but they will have to come out eventually and the longer they've been suppressed, the greater the flurry of tics once they feel safe enough to 'let go'.

For most kids with TS, the tics themselves really aren't a big deal - it's the stuff like OCD or ADHD which often go hand in hand with TS that cause them problems. There does seem to be a genetic link as the condition often runs in families - my dad has it, my sister sniffed and blinked constantly as a child - but as it's a spectrum disorder the trait could manifest itself as anything from a simple blinking tic which people probably wouldn't ever notice to massive full-body jerks and shouting out swear words. The vast majority of cases though are towards the milder end, so even if he does have TS it almost certainly isn't a big problem.

Personally I wouldn't take him to the GP just yet unless there's anything else that's causing you concern. But it might be an idea to keep an eye on it, and if it continues or gets worse get it checked out.

hope theis helps a bit - if you've got any more questions feel free to ask

DrNortherner Tue 28-Aug-07 22:45:27

Spagblog my ds is 5 and has displayed tics on and off since he was about 3. He started with the eye squinting thing, then he would constantly tilt his head back asif looking at teh ceiling, we had a sniffing one, a grunting one and a nose rubbing one. It is awful. I looked on the internet and was convinced he had tourettes, we went to see GP and he was not worried. Eavh tic lasted a few months, thn nothing, then a new one. It's always when he seems a bit stressed - a new room at nursery/starting school/having problems settling at school etc etc.

Throughout the summer hols he has not had any tics and I am hoping he is past it now, but a new class and a new teacher could bring it on.

What I'm trying to say is, tics are much more common then yuo realise especially in young boys. I know it's hard but try not to worry. As long as it is 1 tic at a time it is not Tourettes.

Spagblog Wed 29-Aug-07 08:35:40

Thank you for your words. I will continue to observe and ignore at the same time.

My greatest fear is that it progresses to swearing and large uncontrollable movements. I would hate for him to be victimised for it. You just want to protect them so much, don't you?

mimsum Wed 29-Aug-07 23:04:05

I know how easy it is to forecast the worst possible scenario, but try not to worry. Even in the unlikely event that he does have TS, the chances of it being that severe are pretty slim. The media image of TS as the swearing disease which blights peoples' lives is simply because it's only the most serious cases which are interesting enough to make a programme about. After all, no-one would tune into watch some bloke cough a lot, sniff a bit and tug at his collar all the time, but basically be very successful in his career and have a large, loving family (that's my dad, btw )would they?

gess Wed 29-Aug-07 23:09:22

They don't diagnose tourette;s until there have been tics present for at least a year. Swearing is very rare. Something like 95% of people with Tourette's don't swear uncontrollably.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: