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9 year old with compulsion to put fingers down his throat

(4 Posts)
Splandy Sun 03-Dec-17 23:59:16

I'm really worried sad earlier this year I was called into the school urgently because his teacher thought he was developing tourette's syndrome. I posted on here and was reassured. He developed tics quite suddenly, had a few vocal ones with throat clearing etc and they were causing him some pain at times. They seemed to be getting a bit better lately. The GP referred to Camhs, then in July we received a letter saying his referral was approved and he would get an appointment, but we've heard nothing since.

This evening he came downstairs crying telling me that he keeps putting his fingers down his throat. He said he had to do it but he didn't want to because it felt horrible. He was worried and very upset because his dad constantly lets him down. It had happened again today and must have been playing on his mind once he was in bed. He's generally a very anxious child, but not obvious to most people as he's socially very confident. As he was talking to me he was putting his hands to his mouth and seemed unable to stop himself, so I was physically removing his hands. It seems to have been set off by getting upset about his dad. In the past I have made sure not to mention his tics as it makes them worse but it's more difficult in this situation. I've realised that he's also been scratching at the outside of his throat a lot, which I thought was an attempt at easing an itchy throat due to allergies, but I now think is a throat tic.

Has anybody else come across this? I'm becoming more convinced that there is something 'wrong' and i am really worried. I'm planning to go into school tomorrow to let them know and watch out because I think he might actually make himself throw up. Also going to call the number on the letter and chase up the referral. Who should I ask to talk to in the school? He was assessed by the senco when the tics began who said she thought he has sensory issues, but I don't know whether she's always there and I don't really want to give details to the receptionist.

iggleypiggly Mon 04-Dec-17 00:02:16

Are there any other signs? Could it be OCD? flowers

Splandy Mon 04-Dec-17 00:24:48

Thanks, I don't know, it seems like either a tic or an ocd compulsion to me. It was totally out of the blue. His other tics have been very noticeable, things like jerking his head back repeatedly and lifting up his arms. He hasn't had a tic free period for at least a year now but his latest ones seem to be with his hands so other people don't notice it so much. I've never noticed any compulsive behaviours with objects etc, always just tics.

He massively overreacts to things and is very scared. Won't be alone in a room etc, even during the day at times. He worries a lot about things and is difficult to reason with. He struggles to concentrate and is unusually sociable/desperate to be with other people at all times. I have no memories of him ever playing with a toy alone, it's only if somebody else is playing with him. He is incapable of entertaining himself. Not sure whether that is even linked or just an aspect of his personality, but it's one of the things I've struggled with most. He never stops moving, not just the tics but constant movement. He has no behavioural problems at school but they are starting to mention more and more that he is distracted, distracts other children, can't complete tasks without somebody over him constantly reminding him of what it is he needs to do... None of it really ties together and I don't know what's relevant and what isn't. There is a history of mental illness on both sides of the family, which do include ocd, though not in me or his dad. His dad told me he has adhd but has never been diagnosed. His dad is similar in his behaviours.

InteriorLulu Thu 04-Jan-18 10:50:44

We had something similar with DS about 18 months ago. It's horrible to see - I was aware of it, but tried not to notice it IYSWIM...after a week or so he told me he was doing it and we decided he should speak to the doctor. My concern was that it would develop into a larger compulsive behaviour - one of my first thoughts was Tourette's syndrome. He also has a mild blinking tic. Both my Aunt and my Dad have OCD to varying degrees and I have suffered with depression and anxiety for most of my life.

The doctor was very reassuring and there appeared to be no underlying cause. One of the things she suggested, and we used successfully, was a loose rubber band on his wrist for him to 'ping' if he felt the need to put his hand in his throat.

On reflection I think it might have been linked to a wider anxiety-related issue, as we are now going through another difficult period. Since mid-November he has started feeling sick before school, has been totally OK over the Christmas break, and is fine at weekends. I've been speaking with the SENCO at school to find out what we can do to support him at home (he doesn't have SEN). There are no issues at school. He's anxious about attending but by break time he's fine.

Like your DS, he needs to be reminded constantly to do things and is easily distracted. He can also overreact massively to some situations.

It's really hard and I hope you get to the bottom of it. Good luck.

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