Thank you so much for your recommendation. We actually had our boy seen by two other practitioners here in the Tampa Bay area, Dr. Springer, MD at LifeWorks Wellness Center and Dr. Jared Roscoe, DC. They did muscle testing on him (still doubtful about its validity) and stated that he had an overgrowth of yeast in his intestine (leaky gut syndrome). The tests they suggested to further diagnose were expensive (tests that you cover in your book Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourette's), so we opted for the changes below as our first steps until we could save enough for the tests (dietary options recommended by the doctors above and also discussed in your book).
This was nearly two and half months ago now. We implemented these changes across all three households (grandparent care takers included):
- Reduced his electronic device time (TVs, tablets, Xbox, computer)
- Reduced his sweets consumption (have not completely cut out all sweets)
- Completely stopped all artificially colored and flavored foods and
- Changed his milk to organic grass fed milk and his butter to butter made from grass fed cows
- Replaced all wheat foods with gluten-free equivalents (we have had some "regular" pizza here and there)
I should point out that one of the doctors above wanted our boy to also go dairy free. That seemed a lot harder than going gluten free, so we opted to implement it if the gluten free diet alone did not yield results. Ultimately, we never had to go dairy free.
As I stated in my original post, we saw some tic reduction about a week into going gluten free. We kept noticing a slow but steady decline on his blinking and face grimacing. We think his neck stretching was not tic related...1) we had never seen it before that one week through which he did and 2) we think it had to do with him constantly having his neck bent down while looking at the tablet.
As of about a month ago, we noticed that all facial grimacing stopped.
As of about two and half weeks ago, we noticed that all out-of-the-norm blinking has completely stopped. I can't tell you how thrilled we all are! If I had to put my finger on any one change being the reason, it has to be having gone gluten free (as I stated, for the most part). It is the biggest change we've taken. His electronics time has increased a little since we began and so far it hasn't impacted the tics. Additionally, we never gave him too many artificially colored and flavored foods to begin with so the change there wasn't that drastic (we don't give him any now).
I failed to mention on my original post that his attention/focus wasn't the greatest. His first grade teacher brought it up at the beginning of the school year, and I certainly noticed it. Even though he has always gotten good grades, he tended to lose interest quickly when doing homework (staring off into space); his legs would sometimes shake after staying on a school topic for more than 5 minutes; he would rock back and forth while reading; he would sometimes go off topic when reading and had a hard time bringing himself back to reading without me pointing it out; he would constantly fidget with his fingers--like he was anxious; he sometimes stutters a little at the beginning of his sentences when he gets excited. in the last three or four months before we began with the diet changes, he sometimes seemed in a bit of a haze and wasn't quick with simple answers as I had seen him be in the past. He has never been diagnosed with ADHD, but who knows. Point being, we have also noticed a major improvement in this area. He seems calm. The fidgeting with his fingers has decreased. He doesn't seem anxious anymore. And his stuttering has definitely decreased to where it just seems like a bad habit. It doesn't concern us anymore. Overall, he seems much happier.
His focus at school has improved so much that today his teacher sent us the following in an email, "I did want to mention that I have seen very positive changes with __________. On both the Science and Math Common Assessments he was very focused and tried very hard. He seems much calmer and is doing well at sitting correctly (I was always concerned he would fall and get hurt). He has been participating more and is using a lot of higher level thinking skills." When his teacher refers to him as "sitting correctly", she means as opposed to him rocking back and forth incessantly as he has been known to do.
Again, we are just thrilled and are so grateful for people like you who are making monumental inroads in a field that at times seems without answers from the medical establishment. Thank you, Sheila. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I read your book from front to back and it gave us the hope, the answers, that we were looking for. At the beginning of this ordeal, I saw many posts from others that asserted improvement upon changing diet habits. I just never thought that I would be one of the ones who would be writing about this for the benefit of those who might be going through the same.
As wonderfully as he is doing now, I remain cautiously optimistic. It is currently winter, and a lot of the pollen, molds and like allergens are at low levels. Spring will give rise to these potential triggers once again, and we will be vigilant to proceed with actual diagnostic tests should his tics once again manifest themselves. Additionally, I am aware that dietary changes do not yield improvements in all tic-related cases. We consider ourselves extremely fortunate.
Sheila you have my permission to use any and all of our story for the advancement of the cure against tics and similar/related neurological conditions. Once again, we thank you dearly.