I have been a lurker for the last 4 months and I wanted to share our experience and give back to the community especially if our approach continues to be successful.
Our 8 yr old dear son (DS) had the onset of tics at 5 years old, starting in Kindergarten. TS does not run in our family and we had no idea what was happening. We informed our pediatrician when we first noticed, but was assured that it would go away. Unfortunately, the tics and his behavior got worse as the years progressed. At 7 yrs old, our DS was diagnosed with both TS and ADHD.
Up until 2nd grade, the tics were all motor tics until April 2012 where he had the screaming/yelling tics. As you can imagine, the yelling tics are extremely disruptive and DS have been name teased by children and adults. It hurt me so bad hearing it from adults who don't understand his condition. The tics reached an all time worse with yelling every 5 seconds and DS often lost his voice. After much medical escalation and phone calls asking for help, we finally got an appointment with a doctor at UCSF who understood and was clearly aligned with our treatment goal - no medication. He is so supportive and understanding.
The first visit was a consultation, but the doctor didn't waste any time. He wrote a slip for DS to test for allergies within the same day. The results returned and allergies were present: dust mites (class V out of class VI, which means highly allergic), peanuts (class I), timothy/grass (class II). No other food allergies showed up, but the doctor put DS on a restricted diet for 3 weeks: gluten free, casein free, soy free, dairy free, egg free and it goes without saying artifical coloring and perservatives and msg free.
2.5 weeks into the diet, no change in vocal/yelling tics. At the 3 week mark, we noticed a slight decline in vocal tics; happening less frequent throughout the day. Since DS started to show improvement, we continued the diet for 3 more weeks. The last 3 additional weeks has been a wonderful time for us; significant reduction in tics and manageable behavior. We never had a tic free period for longer than 2 days since the onset at 5 years old so for a very long time, we felt like a "normal" family. We are able to go to the library, movies and out socially without people gwaking or staring.
We don't want to celebrate too early b/c we know that it could possibly change any day, but we are cherishing the moments and days when his tics are very minimal. This is week 8 being on the restricted diet and so far compared to where DS was, the tics have decreased significantly in intensity and frequency. The doctor instructed us to give DS a calcium supplement, which we started this week. We are using the calcium (500mg) and magnesium (250mg) supplement from Trader Jo's. I was hoping that the magnesium would further reduce the tics, but I don't really see a difference.
The doctor recommended "Lifetime Liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate Strawberry – 1-1/2 teaspoon 2x/day" so I need to google it later tonight and purchase. But I'm using the Trader Jo's brand in the interim.
I'll continue to keep you posted on our journey. But so far, the integrative approach is helping and we pray that it will stick and continue to improve, both on tics and ADHD. Wish us well.