When Chloe was diagnosed at 3 with Autism I asked the Dr if she had Tourette Syndrome. She said it was to soon to tell and we would keep a watch on her. She already had a few tics and I was concerned. 5 years later and she still hasn’t been diagnosed, even though her tics are increasing.
What is Tourette Syndrome? It is a nervous system disorder involving repetitive movements or unwanted sounds. Movements can include eye blinking, head jerking, smelling objects, shoulder shrugging, nose twitching, vocal sounds like grunts and even as bad as saying swear words or obscene gestures. There are others and they are categorized as simple tics or complex tics.
Tics can vary in type, severity and frequency. They can get worse if the person is ill, anxious, tired or excited. They can occur during sleep and can change over time. As the child gets closer to teenage years they can worsen and improve closer to adulthood
Tics are very common with children who are autistic. Chloe’s tics are mostly facial tics on the right side of her face, coughing, shoulder shrugging and occasional head jerking. The facial tics really bother her. They started 1 month ago, right when homeschool began. She has been anxious and has had crying spells. I am trying to figure out a way to do homeschool in a calm way and give her plenty of down time. Some tics are more controllable than others. Some children or adults use them to calm themselves.
What can you do for the tics? The doctors Chloe has seen tell me to do sensory work with her. Also doing deep pressure on her joints. There are a few medications I can give her as well. One is Clonidine, which she already takes for sleep. There are many others, but I am not comfortable trying this one or that one. Right now we are doing relaxation techniques with her. If she needs deep pressure hugs or even tickles we do that. We know the cause of them right now so we are working on the issue to help her feel more at ease.
Chloe has been an anxious child since she was around 1 years old. It has increased over the years. I had a few tics as a teen myself. Nose twitching and leg bouncing. I have been diagnosed with restless leg syndrome and have to move my legs a lot. It’s not fun, so I can imagine what Chloe is feeling. I pray it decreases as she ages, but if it doesn’t we will get the diagnosis she needs and get the treatment she needs as well.
Do any of your children have tics? If so what treatment do they receive?
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