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Anyone here know about Tourettes or Tic disorders?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I think my son may have (or on his way to having) Tourettes or at least some type of Tic disorder. He has always had some sort of "thing" he has to do for the past few years, but it never occurred to me until now that it could be something more than just anxiety like we always thought it was. Up until now it has always been just motor tics like chewing on his clothes (mainly sleeves), tugging at his clothes, picking at his skin, wiggling his fingers a certain way, etc. In the past week, though, he has developed his first vocal tic. He is CONSTANTLY clearing his throat. Typical of Tourettes/tic disorders, when he gets engrossed or interested in something the tic lessens, but when he is relaxed like when he watches tv or riding in the car, it picks up intensity.

He is now 10 1/2 years old going into 5th grade, but these things started when he was in kindergarten, maybe a little earlier. The first major one was the chewing on the sleeves, actually just chewing on anything, and that happened in kindergarten. Currently his tics are the throat clearing, picking at his skin (I have that tic, and have for as long as I can remember), and tugging at his clothes...mainly he tugs at his pants like he has a wedgie.

Tonight I started searching online b/c of the throat clearing thing, and brought up to my husband what I found about Tourettes, and he says I'm over reacting. He thinks that if it were really Tourettes then he would do the tics the same amount all the time no matter what he was doing, even though I tried to convince him otherwise. *sigh*

At what point do I take my son to the doctor? Should I even bother? He starts school on Thursday (I read that a lot of kids have tics appear just before school starts or ends b/c of anxiety) and I'm sure this new throat clearing thing will drive the teacher nuts...it sure drives me nuts and I don't have to sit in class with him for 6 hours a day!

Does anyone here have any advice? Any would be appreciated! Thanks!!
post #2 of 20
I am not overly knowledgeable about Tourette's, but it does sound like a possibility given the behaviours you have described. My understanding is that tics are indeed stress-induced, so that someone tics more often when they are in a stressful situation or feeling anxious for some reason.

Taking him to a doctor now wouldn't hurt, or if you want to wait until the school year starts, mention in to the teacher early on. The throat clearing may drive him/her nuts, but if he/she knows about the situation, he/she should be understanding and work with you to get him any help/support he may need in the classroom. He/she should also be able to report to you any "tics" he might be presenting in the classroom and their frequency (good chance the doctor will want this information).

Here's a good description of what Tourette's is (including what it is NOT): http://www.cpri.thehealthline.ca/doc...ct%20Sheet.pdf

On the other hand, my mom went through a stage where she was constantly clearing her throat. It drove me crazy! It turned out it was allergies (post nasal drip) and cleared up with a nose spray. I had it one summer, and it was VERY annoying. Have you asked him why he is clearing his throat?

Good luck!
post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by kara_leigh View Post
Does anyone here have any advice? Any would be appreciated! Thanks!!
If you are concerned about your child's health, don't try diagnosing him based on internet researching; take him to a doctor and tell the doctor your concerns about certain behaviours.
post #4 of 20
I would take him in to the doctor. My oldest went through similar behaviors. She started chewing her sleeves, shirts. She moved on to scratching,pinching herself. She began spinning in circles on the floor. Around age ten she started making animal sounds. I took her in for assessment. She has severe anxiety. The beginning of a new school year was too much for her to handle. The Pediatrician had a lot of good suggestions to make things easier for her. My daughter's anxiety disorder peaked around age 13. Since then she has found many ways to cope. The only way you are going to find out if it is his anxiety, or tourettes is by having an assessment done.
post #5 of 20
I know about it.
My friends Nephews have it.
Would you like to talk to her?
Iwould also talk to a Dr.
post #6 of 20
He could have a type of Aspergers, there are many different reasons he could be behaving like this and he does need some help. I would take a trip to your pediatrician.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cococat View Post
He could have a type of Aspergers, there are many different reasons he could be behaving like this and he does need some help. I would take a trip to your pediatrician.
Aspergers jumped to my mind too, but there would likely be more to it than just the repetitive behaviours (social difficulties being a main one), so without knowing your son, I didn't want to suggest that. Only a doctor can make any of these diagnoses.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
I've thought for at least a couple years that he has aspergers b/c he shows most of the signs (as do I actually) but when I brought it up to our doctor she completely blew me off and wouldn't even assess him.
post #9 of 20
Doctor? Yes - the sooner the better.
If a doctor won't pay attention - find one that will.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by kara_leigh View Post
I've thought for at least a couple years that he has aspergers b/c he shows most of the signs (as do I actually) but when I brought it up to our doctor she completely blew me off and wouldn't even assess him.
You have to get a specialist in AS to diagnosis anyone with this, a doctor isn't trained for it.

And yes, please see if something can be done about the throat clearing or at least have something that you can show teachers to make them behave.
In fifth grade I had a very bad virus that left me with a chronic cough and throat clearing for over 3 months. One would expect other children to be cruel, but so were many of my teachers as they thought I was purposely doing it to be annoying!
post #11 of 20
If a doctor blows off concerns you have then you need to find another doctor for your child. Let me tell you a story here. About 5 years ago my oldest son was always complaining of a bad stomach ache, at least 2-3 times a week. I was constantly telling them something was wrong but they would not listen. They always told me it was gas and nothing more. After 6 months of this I demanded, not asked demanded, that he be sent to a specialist. On the first visit to the specialist they concluded that he has urine backed up really bad in one kidney and needed surgery asap to fix the tube leading from 1 kidney. If this was left untreated my son could have went into renal failure. After that I gave the original doctor an earful and changed doctors.

My middle son was labeled failure to thrive for years and years because of his size. I was always taking him to different doctors because none of the doctors would try and find out why he wasn't thriving. When he was about 4 we started taking him to the peds. he is at now. This was the only doctor that took his failure the thrive seriously and ran tests. Come to find out his pituitary was not working right and he had little to no growth hormone output. A year of 3 times weekly shots and his pituitary started making that hormone of its own.

If your doctor is not taking your son's health seriously find another one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kara_leigh View Post
I've thought for at least a couple years that he has aspergers b/c he shows most of the signs (as do I actually) but when I brought it up to our doctor she completely blew me off and wouldn't even assess him.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ping View Post
If your doctor is not taking your son's health seriously find another one.
I agree! See if you can get a referral to a specialist who would deal with these types of behaviours. I'm not sure who that would be - a psychologist, I would think.

Autism and Asperger's (both of which are Pervasive Development Disorders exist on a spectrum, with severe autism (non-verbal/low-functioning) on one end and high-functioning Asperger's on the other. I'm really starting to think that people (myself included) can just have a "touch" of PDD.
post #13 of 20
I concur with the recommendation that you take your son to a psychologist. have him evaluated and voice your concerns. A pediatrician is no where near as likely to see what you see.
I am a certified developmental disabilites nurse and have been for 20 yrs. I am no qualifed to diagnose...But I would wholeheartedly suggest an evaluation by a child psychologist.

Wishing you and him lots of luck.
post #14 of 20
^I was trying to think of the proper name for ASD specialist and it kept escaping me...

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoeysmom View Post
Autism and Asperger's (both of which are Pervasive Development Disorders exist on a spectrum, with severe autism (non-verbal/low-functioning) on one end and high-functioning Asperger's on the other. I'm really starting to think that people (myself included) can just have a "touch" of PDD.
But to actually get diagnosed one has to meet a certain amount a criteria, and be compromised someway in adulthood - at least with the high functioning/NLD/AS.
What makes you wonder about yourself? Is it social issues/awkwardness or more?
Aside from some of that I have the narrowed interest/intense focus. I'm terrible at small talk but if given the chance can talk at people about one of my interest for hours.... it's usually not a conversation. I also stim(fidget) - normal people do this in small degrees when thinking or stressed but I almost constantly do it. It tends to annoy people if it makes noise or shakes something(tables), but I have to move in some way - I've been this way as far back as I can remember (around 3 1/2 years old).
post #15 of 20
I have many of those symptoms and I am FAR from being a youngster.

I went to a neurologist for something else and asked if I had tourettes and he said IF it started before I was 18 yes if not no.

I was seeing a Psychiatrist for anxiety meds as I have severe anxiety and he said Tourettes meds can make you worse after a while.

I think a neurologist is who you want to see and I would do it soon. My sister in Laws nephew has it and he has been badly teased in school.

I think my problem is Anxiety but so far no meds have helped.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
^I was trying to think of the proper name for ASD specialist and it kept escaping me...

But to actually get diagnosed one has to meet a certain amount a criteria, and be compromised someway in adulthood - at least with the high functioning/NLD/AS.
What makes you wonder about yourself? Is it social issues/awkwardness or more?
Aside from some of that I have the narrowed interest/intense focus. I'm terrible at small talk but if given the chance can talk at people about one of my interest for hours.... it's usually not a conversation. I also stim(fidget) - normal people do this in small degrees when thinking or stressed but I almost constantly do it. It tends to annoy people if it makes noise or shakes something(tables), but I have to move in some way - I've been this way as far back as I can remember (around 3 1/2 years old).
Yeah, a "touch" I don't think would necessarily get a diagnosis, although it's often nice to just be able to "label" something to explain it to yourself.

Mine is the same sort of social thing. I don't do well with conversations (especially small talk), but if comfortable, or if I have something specific to talk about it, I talk A LOT, but often forget to ask questions of the others in the conversation (and think of them later). I also have little behaviours that I find myself doing...mostly fidgeting, but I often find myself walking through a store just moving my hand or thumb in a weird way. I have a few minor compulsive things, as well as some sensory issues (nothing can touch my neck, certain carpets/fabrics/sounds give me that "fingernails on chalkboard" feeling. None of these are full-blown behaviours, I would think. But whenever I've heard about/discussed Asperger's, I've always identified with many of the behaviours described - just not in a way that has really interfered with my functioning.

Sorry to take this thread away from your son, kara_leigh. As a teacher, I really admire parents like yourself who recognize a possible "problem" and advocate for their child!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
What makes you wonder about yourself? Is it social issues/awkwardness or more?
Aside from some of that I have the narrowed interest/intense focus. I'm terrible at small talk but if given the chance can talk at people about one of my interest for hours.... it's usually not a conversation. I also stim(fidget) - normal people do this in small degrees when thinking or stressed but I almost constantly do it. It tends to annoy people if it makes noise or shakes something(tables), but I have to move in some way - I've been this way as far back as I can remember (around 3 1/2 years old).
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoeysmom View Post
Mine is the same sort of social thing. I don't do well with conversations (especially small talk), but if comfortable, or if I have something specific to talk about it, I talk A LOT, but often forget to ask questions of the others in the conversation (and think of them later). I also have little behaviours that I find myself doing...mostly fidgeting, but I often find myself walking through a store just moving my hand or thumb in a weird way. I have a few minor compulsive things, as well as some sensory issues (nothing can touch my neck, certain carpets/fabrics/sounds give me that "fingernails on chalkboard" feeling. None of these are full-blown behaviours, I would think. But whenever I've heard about/discussed Asperger's, I've always identified with many of the behaviours described - just not in a way that has really interfered with my functioning.

Sorry to take this thread away from your son, kara_leigh. As a teacher, I really admire parents like yourself who recognize a possible "problem" and advocate for their child!
The reason I think I have it is for one b/c of severe social problems. I absolutely cannot start conversations and have a hard time carrying them for any length of time, and b/c of this tend to only really make friends with very outgoing people that can start and carry the conversations for me. For instance, my husband's friend was married to this really shy girl. She and I went out together a couple times and we both literally sat there and stared at each other not saying a word. Needless to say we didn't become good friends. People tend to think I'm a b*tch b/c of this, but I'm really not. Once I get to know someone really well you can't shut me up...but like you both said it is mostly a one sided conversation.

I have severe difficulty reading people and their behaviors/actions/tone of voice and knowing how to interpret them. I take everything very literal, and have a very hard time with sarcasm. When at people's houses and at parties (when I go out) I can't seem to ever be able to judge when it is time to leave. I just can't read the cues, even though I try so hard to. I always tend to be the last one to leave and I only do b/c I feel awkward realizing I'm the only one left.

I hate eye contact. I find it very difficult to look people in the eye when talking to them.

B/c of these things I have a hard time making friends. I don't have anyone, other than my husband, that I would call a "friend". I have a bunch of acquaintances, but no real friends. I never kept any friends in high school either. Every single year in high school I hung out with a completely different group of people. I talk to very few people that I went to school with. The ones I do talk to are my brother in law and a guy that happens to be his best friend. Other than that I don't talk to anyone else...and I only talk to them b/c I'm related to one of them. lol

I have the focused interest thing going on...I'm obsessed, you could say, with a few certain things. Like babies...I know everything there is to know about babies, and even though I don't have a baby of my own anymore I talk about babies all the time, I work with babies, I'm just plain obsessed with babies. Get me talking about babies and you won't be able to shut me up...ever. I've been obsessed with babies as long as I can remember. I remember my mom telling me once when I was about 7 or 8 "Kara, there is more to life than just babies!" b/c I wanted to watch a made for tv movie that was about a baby. I have a few other things I'm this way about also.

I have a few stims...I pick my face. Especially when I'm stressed, worried, tired, or overwhelmed, I "hunt" (meaning run my fingers all over my face) and every little bump I feel I pick at it, sometimes until it bleeds. I chew gum like crazy. I like the little individually wrapped Dubble Bubble or Super Bubble type, and I chew two at a time. I chew them for about 5 minutes then I spit it out and chew another two pieces. I can go through an entire huge bag in one sitting. As I type I have piles of empty wrappers sitting on my desk and I'm about to pop two more pieces in my mouth. I wring my hands over and over again. I also have a spot on my right palm just at the base of my thumb that I scratch at all the time. I think it itches, but I don't know if it really does or if it is just in my mind. I've got quite the callous there from scratching at that one spot so much over the years. I also rub my bare feet back and forth on the carpet until they go numb.

I have certain sensory problems. I can't stand for my hands or arms to be wet and/or soapy. When I wash my hair in the shower I scrub it up and have to rinse my hands off before I start to rinse my hair out...even though I'm going to touch my hair again right away. Then every...single...time I touch my head I have to rinse my hands off before I touch it again. I do not like washing my hands so I prefer to use hand sanitizer. I can't stand wearing shoes or socks, but if I'm at work I can't stand being barefoot and have to wear socks b/c the feeling of stepping on dropped food or anything else is enough to make me scream.
post #18 of 20
^ You added more to that just before I was about to comment. lol

Have you seen any of the basic tests based on Simon Baron-Cohen work? http://glennrowe.net/BaronCohen/MaleFemale.asp has a few. They're not to diagnose anyone, though if they come out with really extreme results it might suggest you should think about diagnosis if it could help you any.

I say the eye emotion test is useless, though. Poor quality pictures and they almost all look alike - but then I get a 7 on it.

It might help your son a little if you get diagnosed, too. Maybe that way the two of you could work together?


I don't have the problems knowing when to leave, generally because I try to leave anything as soon as I can. My DH is always telling me something I said was rude or annoyed a person - I never see it. I can make eye contact but I don't think I'm doing it right and it feels unnatural - I suspect this since this behavior carries over to animals, too, that this is why animals like me so much. I don't make the unintentional threatening eye contact with them - do you notice that with yourself?

I could probably start a conversation with you in person simply because by being very quiet you'd seem non-threatening to me. I'd feel bad about making you uncomfortable and would try to help. Can't promise that you'd like the conversation or that it would go far unless we talked about something safe like animals.

Babies spook me. They're sticky, smell, and are loud. The sound of babies crying literally makes me want to run away - like a nails on chalkboard type experience.

I have/had random interest. Like teaching myself to read a lot of Mayan hieroglyphics when I was 9 or learning some Japanese so I could collect rare tv appearances of a Japanese metal band (I have over 50 gigs of the stuff...), among some other odd things.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Your score: 11
0 - 32 = low (most people with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism score about 20)
33 - 52 = average (most women score about 47 and most men score about 42)
53 - 63 is above average
64 - 80 is very high
80 is maximum

This is the Empathy one. lol
post #20 of 20
^I got a 9. Aren't we a fun bunch to be around? I can empathize with animals better than people. I wonder if some of the honest frankness, and ability just to be instead of complicating things with a bunch of emotions, is what makes you good with children? When they're not being noisy, the honesty found in young children is a lot easier to deal with than adults.
Of course it changes when kids get a older, which to bring it back on the original topic can be what could make it so hard for your son to deal with at school.
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