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My 7 year old suddenly developed tics

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I don't know where to start - I'm new to the forum and I hope someone can give me insight about my son. I am very depressed and desperate and have been losing sleep over this.


My son who is seven years old, very suddenly started having tics before his first karate class. He told me before that he didn't want to take karate, but my husband and I believed it would build his confidence so we tried encouraging him. He was very anxious about it and when we arrived at the school, he started shaking his head from side to side, stiffening his jaw and twitching. It is a series of movements and can be quite distracting. He told me before the class he was nervous but I sort of dismissed it, saying that he'll feel better once he gets settled in. He's always been very scared of things and dependent, but lately he's been more confident and doing things on his own.


So, I thought it was just a nervous twitch but it's been a week now and he has shown no signs of improving. It's a non-stop tic and he does it every couple of seconds. There are times when it's not as frequent (one or two per minute) but as the afternoon and evening progress, it is almost every couple of seconds. He is not fully aware about it and does things like before, but whenever he is aware, he tells us that his neck feels weird and he can't stop it. He holds his head between his hands. He thinks he only does it a couple of times per day and we mostly pretend we don't notice it so as not to give him a complex.


We brought him to a pediatrician on the third day of his tics but she said that he wasn't coming down with something and just gave us cards to contact a neurologist if it worsens. I contacted one last week but we had to get the referral approved so we'll probably only set an appointment this week and I don't know what the wait time is.


Right now, I don't know how to make it better and if it'll get better. I'm full of worry about my child's future. For you parents out there with kids that tic/have tourette's - how did you deal with it? Other than improve his sleep and give him supplements like magnesium and B6. I also asked my child if karate and other things were giving him stress but now he likes karate and doesn't want to quit it, tics and all.


I'm almost afraid to go to the doctor because he might just tell me to wait it out and see if it sticks or not. My son has a lot of friends and is doing well at school, and it pains meto think that if his tics worsen that he'll be bullied, made fun of, etc.


Please advise.



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I can fully relate to the worry and sleeplessness. Neither help anything, however, so breath deep, and have confidence that now that you are at work on figuring things out, you're moving in the right direction. Doing something (like gathering information here and elsewhere) is helpful, for both your child and yourself, so give yourself a pat on the back for being proactive.


My time on this forum has led me to recognize that there are different physiological / neurological issues that result in ticcing. In my case, our children's tic issues, which have ranged from a little frightening to mostly minor, are almost certainly related to gut health, and probably have an underlying genetic predisposition. We have been able to manage things through diet and a couple of supplements. Other children have greater complications which can't be meliorated simply by a modified diet and a supplement or two (if you look at the Pans/Pandas forum you'll get some good information on some of the infection-related tic issues).


So your first job is to start identifying what may be causing your son's tics. A traditional pediatrician is unlikely to give you good information, because most of the useful information regarding tics and how to treat them are 'anecdotal.' Pharmaceutical companies dedicate money to R and D on big-ticket items, not so much on less widely spread health issues. So, since most pediatricians diagnose and treat based on research that they can pull up on their computers, and there is not much Big Pharma research available on tic related health issues for them to pull up, they don't diagnose well. They are basically under-informed.


You are even less likely to get useful information from a pediatric neurologist.


You'll probably need to consult both due to insurance company matters. So do so, if necessary, but don't get alarmed by whay you hear (questionable drugs are usually part of the PN's treatment), and keep in mind that your best information regarding how to go about addressing your son's tic issues will be found elsewhere:


Sheila Roger's Natural Treatment for Tics and Tourettes; a doctor with experience with alternative methods of treatment (we have used an Environmental Medicine practice) who recognizes and has experience (other than administering toxic drugs) dealing with the issues you and your son are dealing with; and, last but not least, these forums, which are a great wealth of information.


Good luck, and hang in there,



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Thank you so much Chris for your reply. It's nice to know that I'm not alone in this. Also, your input on doctors is valuable to me. I have a lot of hesitation about rushing my son to the Pediatric Neurologist since it might result in a long list of prescription drugs. I feel anxious because I know really, the best thing is to do is 'wait it out.' My first concern was it might be seizures (but he is mentally present during the tics) and PANDAS (he has no indications of infections according to the Pediatrician, plus he has no psychological symptoms consistent with it such as OCD).


I will read Roger's book. Thanks for the recommendation. Minimizing the stress factors and improving bad habits in diet and sleep will be quite a challenge, but I know with persistence and awareness, I'll be able to do it.


To all those moms and dads out here, how did you deal with your child's school situation and extra-curricular activities? I really don't know where to start. I thought of totally taking out his extracurricular activities but my child is now the one insistent on doing them (karate and camp). We are about to tell his camp and karate teacher about his tics, but I'm really more worried about this coming school year as his tics are too frequent not to be noticeable.



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Jane, I know your pain. Our girls started at about age 7, too. Based on our experiences, I would suggest that you immediately try to remove any artificial colors from his diet. Twizzlers, Skittles, M and M's, Trix, Lucky Charms, etc... etc... All those colors, like Red #40, Yellow #6, etc... can trigger the need to tic (among many other behavioral reactions).

Find as many substitutes as you can that are all natural. Do that for a few weeks, and you might see some dramatic improvement. We did.

Best of luck.


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7 seems to be that magic age for many kids, mine included. At first when my son's tics were mild, just hard eye blinking and like most parents were told not to be concerned, then one school holiday it exploded with both vocal and motor tics. It was such a shock and I think I was a blubbering mess for a couple of week. I became obsessed in researching and understanding what Tics and TS were all about, unfortunately you will come across such severe cases that it will scare the pants off you. My anxiety finally came under control when I found this forum.


Thankfully my son tics were worse in the initial stages and since becoming involved in this forum, reading Sheila's book and learning from others, my son's tics are now very minimal. The thing that is interesting is that other kids can be so understanding, his friends just accept it without question and if anyone asks, he is very good at just saying it is something his body does and he cannot control it. But right now for the last 6 months, my son's tics are so minimal that most people don't know he has TS, they become a little more evident at the end of the day when he is tired.


What triggers tics for each child will be so individual, some it's food, for us it seems more chemical based. I've recorded our journey in my profile, so I won't go over it again here. But have hope it can get better and it has for so many of us.


Your on the right track, I know it's scary in the beginning, but just take it day by day and learn as much as you can, you will be the only one who can make a difference for your child and improvement is possible. Keep us informed of your progress.

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