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2 1/2 year old girl, Vocal Tic


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My daughter began with a cough/throat clearing "tic" we believe after she had a cold/ear infection about 2 months ago. The "cough" never really went away. Instead it became a noticeable, odd "cough, clearing". I assumed she was dealing with allergies since she was doing it repetitively/daily and it was exactly around spring time. After about six weeks I took her to the pediatrician who said it was a tic and to follow up after getting an x-ray to rule out an obstruction in her throat. No obstruction and I am waiting to take her to see her normal pediatrician as well as our naturopath and an allergist. After reading everything online, I realize that this is in fact a vocal tic. I've been taking notes on when she does it most, how long, etc...but I am in a complete panic. She is a normal, amazing little 2 and a half year old and I am devastated by her developing a possible life disorder. It literally appeared out of thin air. There are no family histories of tics/tourettes/behavioral disorders. She is a bit sensitive and has the normal toddler melt downs from time to time but there is literally nothing else alarming. Can someone shed some light on what else I can do to prepare myself for the road ahead? Other than the doctors I mentioned above, should I be making an appointment to take her to a specialist? I'm concerned our general pediatrician isn't going to have the correct knowledge to direct us appropriately. Any advice from someone who has gone through this with a young child or had similar experiences would be hugely appreciated right now. -teary eyed, worried Mom over here.

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Hi there and welcome.


We have had a number of parents pass through here whose very young children had vocal tics...and many of those resolved when it was discovered there was in fact some allergy involved....interestingly many for whom tics resolved when dairy was removed from the diet and also a number with gluten sensitivity who benefited from going gluten free. There have been a range of other allergens or sensitivities anecdotally reported over the years....food and environmental. So yes, definitely worth investigating further.


TS usually manifests with both motor and vocal tics and imho usually has some form of genetic component.


There are also tics related to infections like strep (PANDAS), or Lyme Disease and other microbial infections (PANS) so we also have a forum here for those. http://latitudes.org/forums/index.php?showforum=17


We have a thread pinned to the top of this board with some helpful info http://latitudes.org/forums/index.php?showforum=1


I know it's hard as a Mom to want to fix whatever ails our children. But remember that you and your child will benefit a lot more if she doesn't get to sense you being anxious over this tic, and thinking she is doing something wrong...so easy for little ones to pick up on mommy's stress.

We have been blessed to hear of so many "success" stories here of tics that totally resolved once the right piece of the puzzle to what was causing them was found. So I hope you will take comfort and that you will soon be on the right path to helping your daughter.

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I'm so feeling for you right now.


Try not to think about worse case scenarios right now, and your in the right place to get the best knowledge. ACN was life changing for me and I strongly believe my son's improvement was because of what I've learnt in here and through reading Sheila's book. Your right, your Pediatrician is unlikely to be of any help, but its great that your seeing a naturopath and allergist, they are more than likely to be the game changers. PANS/PANDAs may definitely be possibility so learn all you can to rule it in or out.


I didn't think we had a genetic link to TS because there is no history in our family. But I think it comes from my fathers side as I can find OCD and undiagnosed ADD. Not a bad thing because my father is a highly successful man who I think is absolutely amazing. But now I have a second son who has developed a vocal tic, so no doubt it's genetics for us.


But that' ok because worse things can happen, so I feel very blessed that it's only tics. If it wasn't for the tics I would never have made lifestyle changes, I'm far better informed about toxicity in our environment and in our food supply. My oldest son's tics are very minimal no one picks up on them, except me of course. We now go longer periods with no tics at all, so the TS is having no impact on his life. But it has enhanced it as he has absolutely excelled in his sports.


I also should mention that my son's tics were at their worse in the beginning and now I'd say there is a 95% improvement. Good luck, happy to answer any questions, but make sure you get Sheila's book, it will give you a lot of hope and lead you through investigating triggers.

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Thank you to you both!

I have an appointment with her pediatrician next week and in the meantime have been doing tons of research, ordered Sheila's book and am trying to stay as calm as possible. It's the unknown that's so scary. PANS/PANDAS is an interesting thought. She has never had a diagnosed strep infection but did have several ear infections this past year and when she started school she was sick a lot. I am not finding a lot of information on kids as little as 2 with tics. It seems like most get it older. It makes me concerned that she will have them worse/longer, etc...but again, I just don't know. I am hoping, just maybe, that this will be a one time thing? Is that even possible? I wish I had a glimmer of hope that this was going to get better. But at this point I can't even understand why it began to begin with.

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  • 1 month later...

My son started coughing/clearing his throat when he was 3, after a cold. It took two years and a slew of alternative ideas, and a new eye tic to appear, before we were told it was tics. So at least you might be ahead of the game.


We tried homeopathy, and it did help sometimes. There would be periods of no cough, but it always came back eventually. Also tried accupressure (he was afraid of the needles, so no accupuncture) It maybe helped lessen the cough, but it never went away fully during that time.


At least rule out allergies, go to a regular allergist to test for dust, mold, pollen, foods, etc. For a while we wondered if it was our cat or dust mites that cause the cough. Thankfully, negative on that.


Shortly after finally getting diagnosed with tics, we tried IgG testing for food sensativities, to get a starting place for an elimination diet. Those tests are not 100% , but should be read as a possible indicator. My son's results came back with elevated numbers for most protiens (dairy, beef, eggs, beans, few others) so that gave us a starting point to plan menus. The chiro also reccomended gut/digestion support with L-glutamine, probiotics, fish oil, digestive enzymes, and also branch chain ammino acids. The changes seemed to help. Eventually the cough went away, and we rotated most foods back into our diet, but dairy seemed to be his trigger. After more time, he was able to better tolerate occasional dairy (like pizza at a birthday). Then about 6 months later, he ate something I told him not to and he had an anaphylactic reaction to a cashew cookie (which we already knew about) and that totally knocked his system out of balance. The cough came back. Though, looking back, he wasn't on the extra supplements for a while. I finally got around to getting more supplements earlier this summer, and the cough has subsided greatly again, and he's about 90% dairy free. So it's all just a guess, Did those things really help, or is it just another waxing and waning cycle? His tic is so mild and I haven't seen any visible specific reaction to anything specific. Other than milk. (I think it makes him phlegmy, which aggrivates the cough)


It was nice reading the book, but it's main point is you have to investigate and experiment, and find what works. No quick answers. And the answers you do find now, might change over time. Since the tic is a cough, it is really hard to just ignore it, so we do coach him to cover his mouth or cough in his elbow, so other people in public don't think we don't teach our kids to spread germs all over. And I told the school nurse and teacher about the tic/cough, so that they know I am not sending my child to school contagious. When your child does get sick for real, the cough will be of a different caliber and timing, you'll notice it is different.

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