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Ds 11 has a tic, can anyone help?

(75 Posts)
ShootingStarsss Thu 28-Mar-13 22:56:56

As the title says ds who is 11 has a tic.
It's been going in a few months now, when he first was doing it I didn't realise it was a tic & would ask him to stop, which obviously now I know he can't.
It is a clearing the throat and a sort of cluck he also twitches & blinks his eyes a lot.

He has said when he tried not to do it it makes home feel "ill" his words and he gets a dry throat.

It is defiantly affecting him more at school & he is very aware of it now, he hates assembly cause he said he can't stop doing it and it can be quiet in assembly.

Is it time to go to the doctors? Is there anything we can do to help?

I know nothing about tics apart from bits I have googled.

thornrose Fri 29-Mar-13 02:20:08

Agent, your first hand experience is interesting. My dd was often clearly distressed by her tics and cried out for help. At other times she needed that safe space to tic away without judgement. I had to play it by ear.
I have to say our experience of moving to high school has meant more judgement from her peers in general, but its early days.
Having lots of accepting friends will help enormously.

ToffeeWhirl Fri 29-Mar-13 02:25:47

Agent - yes, I agree these neurodevelopmental conditions do all overlap, which is why there are so many misdiagnoses and changing diagnoses ("the pathway of diagnosis"). Your description of feeling compelled to say something three times sounds more OCDish to me than Tourettes, to be honest.

Shooting - glad that info was helpful. I look forward to catching up on that programme.

If it is any comfort, a former classmate of my son's has Tourettes. His tics are very noticeable and he has moved into secondary school with no problems. All his friends know and accept his Tourettes - it really isn't an issue. My own son is now home educated, but when he was at school his tics were often either not noticed or put down to youthful high spirits smile.

ToffeeWhirl Fri 29-Mar-13 02:26:49

OTs take forever to see, by the way. Have been on the NHS waiting list for over a year for DS. Start with a visit to your GP.

AgentZigzag Fri 29-Mar-13 02:33:28

Schools generally being more accepting of children being different to each other (who'd have thunk it eh? hmm) than the way they've operated in the past where you either fitted in or tried to tread water best you could, has been a change for the better Thorn.

DD has had a much better experience since going up to secondary, it's not perfect, but she's a lot better off because of the way they make an effort to include everyone rather than just letting the DC battle it out by themselves.

There are some lovely children out there though who don't notice things other children might be cruel about, which can be hopeful to remember when you're worrying about how they're going to get on.

thornrose Fri 29-Mar-13 02:36:05

Agent, I'm glad you've had a good experience at secondary. We haven't.

AgentZigzag Fri 29-Mar-13 02:40:27

I'm genuinely sorry to hear that thorn, it just makes you feel so bloody powerless, you want to go and shake a bit of sense into them sad/angry

AgentZigzag Fri 29-Mar-13 02:41:50

I meant it makes you feel like you want to go and shake them, I wasn't egging you on to go and give her teacher/the other DC a good shake.

I'm not that irresponsible grin

thornrose Fri 29-Mar-13 02:42:37

I know sad but I don't want to derail OPs thread.

thornrose Fri 29-Mar-13 02:43:21

grin I know what you meant.

AgentZigzag Fri 29-Mar-13 02:44:11

Aww <hug>

DollyTwat Fri 29-Mar-13 10:28:41

Reading everyone's experiences on this thread has been very interesting, I'd never considered OCD for ds.
He does have some behavioural problems - awful temper sometimes

His dad deals with him like he's an out of control future hooligan and this is not helpful. Thinking about it he has always been very repetitive in his behaviour.

When we were prescribed the drugs he made the choice that he'd try them, he then made the choice not to take them. If there isn't much else that can be done then we have to accept them I guess.

ShootingStarsss Fri 29-Mar-13 11:43:06

This has been very interesting to read i agree Dolly.

I never thought of OCD either so its great to be able to share our experiences of how our children are and compare with others to see what could trigger this.

My sister has OCD, she does have it very bad and it does control her life, although last few months have been a lot better, over the years her OCD has changed between 2 things, the latest being she has to ask a question that question once in her head has to be asked straight away, its her Dh she has to get hold of and he will have to answer, she then will ask the question again and again and he will give the same answer over and over, if she cant get hold of him (say if he is at work) she becomes very anxious and it almost makes her rage she can not control it.

Its a very hard situation because obviously her dh is working a lot of the time and cant always answer the phone although he does his best, she will sometimes call me and ask me but i know she wont be satisfied till she has spoken to her dh and again she will constantly call back and ask the same question.

She says she cant help it, she has to do it, even though she asks the same question and gets the same answer she has a "need" to do it, sometimes she used to call up to or over 20 times a day sad

OCD is complex and it can be to do with many things, obviously its a compulsion and people who suffer from it need to do whatever there compulsion is.

I don't know the complete in's and out's of OCD but my sister has taunt me a lot of the last 18 years, it did start when after our Father passed away, although fingers crossed she is doing ok at the moment.

Thank you for sharing your experiences smile

thornrose Fri 29-Mar-13 20:42:28

I knew very little about OCD, just the classic rituals, like washing hands, checking lights etc.
My dd went through a phase of having extreme health anxiety. She was obsessed with illness. I didn't realise it was triggered by obsessive thoughts and I was shocked to have it described as OCD.
OCD is indeed complex.

AgentZigzag Fri 29-Mar-13 22:28:48

Your poor sister Shooting, and your DD thorn.

The OCD can make you feel that nothing can ever be 'right' (which can be pretty random and hard to achieve) and you don't trust that you've checked enough to make sure it's as right as it can be. Thankfully I don't get either of these, but like the classic ones of not being able to get out of the house because you have to go round checking all the plugs are off, or feeling you can never wash your hands enough so they feel clean enough.

What I was saying about not knowing whether it's good to point stuff out or not, is really the same as asking whether you should collude with the person. And it must be so draining for your sisters DH as much as for her, for him to have to keep up the alarming amounts of reassurance your sister needs.

I try not to involve anyone else in mine, but when it's your own child and you'd do anything to make them feel more comfortable and reassure them they're OK exactly as they are, I can imagine it's harder to think this at the same time as knowing the behaviour isn't acceptable because of how it's negatively affecting them.

Doing that whilst trying to not make them feel they've got a monster living inside them must be a nightmare.

ShootingStarsss Tue 30-Apr-13 21:18:52

Need some more advice.

Ds has now developed a new tic in the last week, constantly having to sniff his hands.
Ds knows it's a tic he told me he can't stop doing it, he has stopped the throat clearing at present.

Can I ask do tics just keep changing? Is this going to lead on to more severe tics hmm

Ds doesn't want to see the gp yet so I have held off but I think it may be time.

ShootingStarsss Tue 30-Apr-13 21:19:55

He is also still twitching his face & blinking but no vocal tics now.

Gunznroses Wed 01-May-13 08:54:31

Shootingstarss - Yes, tics do keep changing, my dc have had tics since they were 6, they are now 12 and 9 and we've been through nearly every tic mentioned here (have Tourettes). This is the most distressing part for me because you never know what will happen next, you get used to one tic and then suddenly something completely different starts, and you're unsure of its severity. But I would say largely most of them have NOT been severe, the intensity of the tic is usually quite high at the initial onset but then i've noticed it gradually starts to 'calm' a little to the point its not so noticeable.

Recently ds developed 'reading OCD' which i had never ever heard of. Whereby he keeps repeating the same line or paragraph and can't get through a page, i was nearly out of mind with worry because of the likely implications iyswim, but its now really improved and though he still does a bit of repetition he's back to reading his 'Percy Jackson's' again smile this only just happened in the easter holidays. He also grunts a lot and sniffs everything! The sniffing is worrying as he takes really deep sniffs, yesterday he sniffed something really unpleasant and felt really sick afterwards.

Gunznroses Wed 01-May-13 09:00:15

Just to add, its definitely a good idea to see your GP if you havent already, not that there's any 'quick fix', God i wish! but you will need your GP for referrals to other services if and when other overlapping symptoms develop as have been mentioned here already.

HotheadPaisan Wed 01-May-13 09:59:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThingummyBob Wed 01-May-13 10:13:55

Shooting, reading your OP and subsequent posts was as if I was writing about my ds a year or two ago shock right down to your description of his gorgeous personality.

We went through a period of time (few weeks iirc) where ds and I agreed that I would gently "remind" him that he was doing whichever tic it was at the time.

Ds told me that he wanted to stop, so by me gently telling him to stop each time it 'reminded' him to not do it, if you see what I mean?

The tics changed lots of times (throaty 'laugh', eyes screwed, face touching, hand 'sniffing' are just a few I remember) and at times it was painful to see as it seemed he was so anxious.

I knew that deep down he was both confident and happy, but that big things in his life (his dad and I had recently separated) could set it off.

It worked I am happy to say, and ds (9) is totally tic free now. It did return again briefly at Christmas, but on ds's say so we went straight into me 'reminding' him not to do it again and it disappeared very quickly, few days.

I'd only do it with agreement with ds, but as you described with your son, my ds really wanted to stop doing it himself but felt he couldn't on his own.

ToffeeWhirl Wed 01-May-13 10:59:59

I agree that tics do keep changing. Sadly, my second son is now getting a lot of vocal and motor tics. School seems to be making it worse, as does watching television or using the computer. We are giving him fish oils, cutting down the sugar and trying to increase his opportunities to exercise.

If you feel it's time to see the GP, you should follow your instincts. It takes ages to get referred for any treatment, so the sooner your son's issues are logged, the better. There is not a lot that can be done for tics, but any accompanying issues (like anxiety or OCD) can be treated. Maybe your son doesn't have TS, but has anxieties at school that are causing the tics. In this case, therapy (such as CBT), would be very helpful for him.

Having new tics doesn't mean the tics will get worse, by the way. They are completely unpredictable. In Tourettes, the tics are said to be at their worse between 10 and 12, then gradually improve. In half of patients, tics disappear by the age of 18.

Buttonsbythesea Wed 01-May-13 11:18:24

My 13 year old DS had had various tics for the last year. It started as hair flicking, then coughing, now we have sniffing excessively and gulping. I have been worried but after reading up on it it seems most tics do disappear ? I have noticed though that when he is busy the tics go, but are always more pronounced when in front if a screen ! I don't get the link and any advice would be very helpful !

ToffeeWhirl Wed 01-May-13 14:34:14

That's quite late for it to be Tourettes, I think, Button. I would imagine it is stress-related. Found this link about parents having a 'no-screens week' to see if it improved their child's tics. It says the light flicker of the screen is what causes the tics. Honestly, I don't know if this well researched and, on the other hand, playing on the computer can help my older son's OCD and tics calm down confused.

DollyTwat Sun 19-May-13 17:04:47

Just catching up with this thread.
My ds's tic do seen worse the longer he spends on the PC. Interestingly I was chatting to another yr 6 mum and she had taken her ds to the dr for tics. The teacher at school had told her that most if yr 6 are twitching and doing stuff and it's completely normal. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed

Liz1310 Fri 04-Apr-14 13:49:52

Hi Shooting Star

Just wondering how your son is a year on as we are going through this at moment with DS (7).


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