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Tics or something else

18 replies

NotAQueef · 24/07/2021 21:46

My 10yo son has developed a sort of tic over the past few months. I am not sure if it's 'normal' and therefore ignored, or potentially an early sign of something else - eg tourettes.
when he does it - we have been making him aware and gently encouraging him to stop - but am worried this is the wrong thing.
when he is on the PC (with headphones on), or concentrating or something he makes a sound in his throat a cross between a hum and a swallow. he sometimes does it when in bed going off to sleep.
My partner says he had tics when he was the same age and grew out of them and not worry. I am concerned it could be tourettes - not sure what else. any experience/advice/tips?

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HeyGirlHeyBoy · 24/07/2021 21:49

I think, but I could be wrong, that it is advised not to comment on it at all. It can be linked to anxiety and stress (I know of a child who has developed it over the last year, missed school terribly etc.) If you think this may be the root cause, this is the area he needs help with, not being made aware of it, trying to stop etc. Certainly not as a first step. Hope that makes some sense.

NotAQueef · 24/07/2021 21:51

Thank you - I had a feeling I wasn't doing the right thing. definitely developed over the last year. He does suffer from anxiety ...

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HeyGirlHeyBoy · 24/07/2021 21:54

Right well that's what's being communicated then so that's what he needs some help with. The child I know of did well with play therapy but there are ways to support him at home and school of course too.

HeyGirlHeyBoy · 24/07/2021 21:55

The hum and a swallow sound like that's his way of self regulating and self soothing.

Tempusfudgeit · 24/07/2021 21:56

My six year old went through a phase of this - usually in the evening when he was tired. He is a naturally anxious child. We didn't draw attention to it, and it stopped after about 6 months.

NotAQueef · 24/07/2021 21:57

Ok, he had play therapy in y1 as he was struggling when asked to be creative. Will have a look into techniques we can do, and also flag with school.
he has said he gets a feeling in his throat that is relieved by making the noise.

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HeyGirlHeyBoy · 24/07/2021 22:03

That feeling in his throat could be a somatic thing, a block somewhere emotionally coming out in a physical feeling. If school can get him some quality PT now, I'd go for it.

NotAQueef · 24/07/2021 22:07

Off to google somatic

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HeyGirlHeyBoy · 24/07/2021 22:11

I've explained it there in the same sentence! A simple example is a churning stomach and overactive gut when you're nervous about something. So the idea would be, and obviously I don't know but I'd just be staying open to the idea that something (non physical) is causing a physical reaction in his throat which he then has to soothe. Same message as above, treat the root cause.

NotAQueef · 24/07/2021 22:22

Ah thank you for taking the time to comment - really helpful.

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Hellocatshome · 24/07/2021 22:27

My DS 11 has had tics both sounds (not words).and physical for years. Its very unlikely to be Tourettes and it is best not to comment on them, the best way we have found to reduce DS's tics is keep him busy. He swims 10 hours a week and never tics at swimming. Physical activity is a great way of reducing tics.

HeyGirlHeyBoy · 24/07/2021 22:28

Best of luck, it's been a had time for us all and made extra difficult for children who can't always name what's causing their anxiety and other feelings. The most important intervention is one, trustworthy adult.. And it sounds like he's got that Smile Best of luck. Welcome the feelings and normalise them.

cauliflowerkorma · 24/07/2021 22:31

My son developed one the same age. His was a neck jerk thing. Another boy in the class had a blink thing.

We explained to him what it was as he was aware of it. Told him it was highly unlikely that it would be long lasting but that if we felt worried after a few months we could see a doctor.

I waited with baited breath. And was anxious. I noticed some patterns-tiredness made it much more noticeable. And then suddenly you go-oh cripes hes not done it for a few weeks?

That was a couple years ago now. Nothing else since.

NotAQueef · 24/07/2021 22:39

These comments are so reassuring and appreciated. sounds like I just need to be aware of triggers (and def headphones on playing games is one) but not draw too much attention to it, and will try to ensure he gets lots of physical activity - he's been ill this week so not been out so probably more noticeable.

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HeyGirlHeyBoy · 24/07/2021 22:43

You're already aware of the triggers so and what might help. Don't underestimate sharing your own daily frustrations and anxieties, normalising them and then challenging them or reframing them.

Tippytaps · 24/07/2021 22:59

@NotAQueef the waiting list for support can be several years long. Get a referral and get him on the waiting list for CAMH. If things have settled when he gets an appointment then you can cancel it. But don’t wait until it gets bad before getting a referral.

Do not try to get him to stop. If it is a tic then he can’t stop it and trying to will add to his anxiety

wingsandstrings · 25/07/2021 15:24

My DS developed a tic over lockdown, a blinking/face scrunching tic. It was very worrying however it has gone completely now. Being able to resume normal life (esp his beloved sport and seeing friends) seemed to solve the situation. We did try the advice to substitute the tic for a less noticeable one ie. When he felt the urge to blink/scrunch he would instead make a fist with his hand - as he was embarrassed by the tic . . . . however he wasn't really committed enough to practice the substitution and couldn't be bothered so we just left it. It went away of it's own accord. The majority of tics do, that's the good news. Tics are much more common than we think, I know of 4 of my DS's friends that have had tics, often recurring ones, in the past.

Worriemum · 13/03/2023 22:01

Hi just wondering how things panned out for u. My DD has started with a blinking tic and a slight stutter and im beyond worried atm xx

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