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Old 06-12-2007, 01:49 PM   #1
JBurke
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Nervous ticks in children

I have a 6 year old wonderful son who lately has had several ticks.
A couple months ago he started doing this odd thing with his mouth/jaw-opening his mouth really wide and then closing it. He would do this a couple times minute.
I asked him if something hurt and he said no, and when I asked to stop doing it he said he couldnt.
His kindergarten teacher pulled me aside and said she noticed him doing it in class and thought it was just a nervous tick that would go away.

He did stop it, but then about 3 weeks ago he had a cold and started sniffling. Well the cold went away, but the sniffling didnt. Then he was sniffling every 15 seconds or so. Now it progressed from sniffling to a snorting sound.
Once again his teacher said something. It was the last day of school and she thought maybe he was anxious about it. School has been over for a week, and he is still snorting.
The mouth thing wasnt so bad, but now that he is snorting/sniffling instead, other kids and my family are always asking what is wrong with him. I dont want him to be teased or labeled "weird"
When I ask him to stop, he says he cant. I try to ignore it, but after hearing it over and over again sometimes you just snap and I sternly tell him to stop. He maybe stops for a minute, but then it starts up again.
I am really worried about this. I am going to call his doctor and get him appointment. Just wondering if anyone else had gone through something similar?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 06-12-2007, 01:54 PM   #2
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http://www.mindpub.com/art417.htm

I thought this was a really good article.

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Old 06-12-2007, 01:58 PM   #3
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My 4 year old ds has been doing similiar things the last few months. Now, he traces the letters showing on the tv in the air with his head. I am a mental health professional so of course I think the worst. When it is your own child it is hard to keep things in perspestive. I talked with a friend about it and took his advice and I am ignoring it now but will keep an eye out because we are thinking it could be OCD but don't want to over react if it is just a phase
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:00 PM   #4
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Wouldn't hurt to call the DR.

Just a question - I am sure you would have mentioned it but just in case- is he on any ADD/ADHD meds? Those can cause tics in children.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:01 PM   #5
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My oldest ds (11) has had several tics over the years, including the wide mouth one. In his case, even though the doctors say it isn't related, it's due to allergies. when he takes his allergy meds, or isn't in allergy season, the tics vanish. Not a coincidence in my book.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:10 PM   #6
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My ds (17) has always had some kind of nervous tic going on. He can make himself stop for a few minutes but generally not for long. He has done everything from chewing holes in the front of his shirts (first grade) to throat clearing to sniffing. Chances are your son really can't help it. With ds, it always got worse the more we mentioned it. The tics will come and go but have always been worse at the beginning and end of school.

I just told the teachers to ignore it. He told his friends he just had a nervous tick. If anyone in our families had a problem with it they never mentioned it to our face.

You're doing the right thing by going to your pediatrician. Ours was (is) GREAT! He never made ds feel like there was anything "wrong" with him. Our eventualy sent us to a pediatric neurologist to rule out any neurological problems. They're wasn't really anything. The tics are just his nervous systems' way of dealing with excess energy.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:16 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice and article.

In answer to MareQ's question, no he isnt on any ADD medication.

He has been a perfectly "normal" child up until this past year. No behavioral problems and he does fantastic at school.

I am going to try my best and ignore it until we can get into see the doctor.
It just breaks my heart to see him doing this.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:25 PM   #8
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I know how difficult it is to ignore. Before the letter tracing thing he would count to 20 before closing the door. It was so heart breaking to watch especiall with him being 4 and it sometimes would take him a few times to get to 20 without mistakes. I was really glad when he stopped dping the counting thing. It has become easier to ignore although he doesn't do the head thing as frequently because he doesn't watch that much tv so in your circumstances I can understand how difficult it would be to ignore.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:26 PM   #9
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My daughter has a tic too. Her's started with a little clearing throat cough that she would do often. The doctor diagnosed it as a tic and said that it could go away and have no other problems or it could stick around or it could go away and something else show up. About 4 months after it started, it stopped but now she has an eye blink tic. Nothing you can really do about it.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:39 PM   #10
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I would try to ignore it, if he could stop, he would have by now, pointing it out to him will just make him more self-conscious thereby increasing his anxiety (possibly) which in turn probably causes the tic to begin with. My son who is 5 is on ADHD medication and has developed this "habit" that had me more worried than anything. I noticed he would stop every now and then and kind of take deep concentrated breaths through is mouth (like he was having trouble catching his breath) this concerned me because of some of the side effects I'd heard about regarding some adhd meds. I would ask him if he was having trouble breathing or did his chest hurt and he would tell me no he was fine. I finally figured out he only did it when I think he felt "under the microscope" as in if we were questioning him about something or he was trying to explain something clearly to us and taking his time (at no time did he ever show this habit after running, swimming or exerting himself) so I finally figured it was just something he developed and will hopefull go away soon.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:57 PM   #11
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Janice -

I know EXACTLY what you're going through. Please read this thread that I started, I think back in 2005:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=875819

There you'll find some info about my situation.

Please, whatever you do, (and I *know* it's hard), is please try NOT to get frustrated with his tics. This will for sure make them worse and make him VERY self-conscious about it, which will definitely only aggravate the situation. My DD8 has had this disorder since she was 2. It comes & goes in severity and in what kind of tic she's doing. The only vocal tic she's had is a cough, although that is arguable because it was allergy season, and her and I have BAD allergies and personally I think it was post nasal drip, as that also happens to me that time of year. But as far as head/body movement, she has done SO many different things. She STILL does! It's a completely unpredictable disorder, which is a very frustrating part of the whole ordeal. Will it get better? Will it get worse? Who knows. That's what stinks.

As far as the appearance of your son to others, and not wanting him labeled as 'weird' or 'different', a big part of that depends on you. My DD's tics are mildly noticable, not major. But when she does them, I am matter-of-fact with people and simply say "Oh, it's just a tic disorder, and she feels like she has to do it, but she's fine!" If you are ok and nonchalant about it, others will be too. If you make it an 'embarrasing' problem, others will treat it that way as well. Be as normal as you can about it. The good thing about your DS developing it in kindergarten is that the kid's (IF they notice it at all) will be used to him doing that from an early age, and it won't be a big deal. If they ask him what he's doing, also tell him to be open & frank about it. "I have a tic, and my muscles make me do it." Boom. Done. Kids don't ask any more questions after that.

It's VERY hard to see your child have any type of disorder. It's been 6 years I've been dealing with this, and even something as simple as a tic upsets me because I mean really, who wants to see their child have ANYTHING? But keep in mind it could be MUCH much worse. It's hard to remember but keeping things in perspective really helps.

Hang in there & keep us up to date!!!
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:03 PM   #12
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Thank you Jerseylicious for your wonderful response.
I will check out your thread.

I will try and adopt your attitude when it comes to how to respond to people/kids noticing his tics.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBurke View Post
Thank you Jerseylicious for your wonderful response.
I will check out your thread.

I will try and adopt your attitude when it comes to how to respond to people/kids noticing his tics.
You're welcome. I completely understand how you feel. But again, the more 'normal' you make it, the more 'normal' everyone else will make it!
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*** RC Liberty of the Seas Pre-Inaugural - May '07*** THANK YOU, RCI!!!
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:15 PM   #14
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Defintely try to ignore it. I had tics as I was growing up (still do at times now, but I'm very aware of them, and do my best to stop at this point). It is not something he can stop. My mom used to sortof copy me, I think to make me aware, or to figure out what I was trying to do, and it make me more anxious and much worse. I had the throat clearing, sniffing, arm tics, etc. It could get better then worse, then better, or just go away. I would definitely just try not to draw attention to it. Good luck. Its tough, because I know from personally going thru it, and I try to watch my daughter and it worries me to see if she starts doing thing, since I don't know if she has the same issues, or just normal at that age repeating things, etc.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:17 PM   #15
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I think it's good that you are going to see the doctor. There are some disorders that show up in the form of tics, but it could also just be the age. I teach Kinder. and I have had lots of kids that had tics, or just weird little habits. Most were just being kids, but a few did have bigger issues.

BTW- As a young child if I bumped into or touched something without meaning to, I had to do it again. I have no idea why, I couldn't help myself. I also wanted everything in even numbers. If I had five lifesavers I would get uncomfortable. If I had six, I had to eat them in twos. I have outgrown both behaviors, although in times of stress I occasionally notice them coming back. I am a fully functional adult with a husband and two beautiful kids.
So the bottom line is, see the doctor, but try not to worry too much. Although in my experience as a Mom, you're going to worry no matter what everyone tells you.
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