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5yo with Motor and Vocal Tics--Any advice will be greatly appreciated

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I'm new to this forum. My son started eye rolling shortly after his 5th birthday (9/2016). I thought it was just something he was doing so I did the worst possible thing and i asked him to stop. That made things exponentially worse--he started doing it a hundred times an hour and even added a head and neck jerk up, down and sideways.


I took him to the pediatrician and she informed me that this is quite commonplace for boys his age and that the best thing to do is ignore it and that it will likely pass.


I ignored it and it did calm down quite a bit for a few weeks. I did notice some more subtle tics like scrunching his nose or throat clearing but only when he's doing something idle like playing on his ipad or watching TV.


Last December, everytime he got sick he would stretch his neck and roll his eyes back. I figured it was due to a sensation from his sore throat.


The newest tic is a vocal tic--he keeps making a "Hmm" sound. It started with one "Hmm" and now he's doing a sequence of 4-5. He's also blinking his eyes really hard. Last week when he was particularly tired, I saw him do a sequence of head jerks and face grimacing.


I am wondering if anyone on this forum has had any success with the GAPS diet? My son did have food allergies when he was a baby. He was solely breastfed--when he was around 3-4 months old, he had bloody stools. After a process of elimination, we figured out that he was allergic to mild and soy.


After his 1st birthday, we slowly introduced milk and soy and he was fine so we thought we were in the clear. I'm wondering if the tics are connected to this?


I am terrified of this getting worse. I know how cruel kids can be.


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi Abby114, We are glad to have you on the forums. I know tics are so concerning, but you sound like the type of parent who will be able to get to the bottom of this and find causes for the tics.


Unfortunately pediatricians usually tell parents to do nothing about tics, which is not in the least helpful! Food allergy and sensitivity can be a big connection to tics, as can artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives as well as MSG--as well as environmental exposures.


I think a big clue for you is the food allergy he had as a baby, especially with the milk and soy problem. Blood in the stools is quite a serious reaction from food allergy during breast feeding, so it make sense to eliminate those right now.


To answer your question on the GAPS diet, yes we have heard cases that responded well to this diet for Tourette's or other tic disorders.The GAPS diet is quite strict (not everyone needs to follow that) but it could be a good place to start to see if things settle down.


Along with diet changes, please be sure that the environment is as allergy-friendly as feasible. Also, remove scented products from the home. Hypersensitivities can extend beyond beyond the diet, just as you have seen with electronics. (Keep those to a minimum).


Please get back to us and let us know how things are going. Give it a little time. As you noticed when symptoms were worse during an infection, different exposures or health issues can come in that affect the immune system, even while you are making good progress with the diet. You may need to find a professional to help in these efforts. If so, let us now and we will try to point you in the right direction.


Try not to despair, I think you will get to the bottom of this!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi - My soon to be 5 yo has the eye blinking tic as well. We have had the most success with going dairy free and avoiding food coloring. We are avoiding all uncooked dairy, but not cooked dairy like what is in Goldfish crackers. It took two full weeks to see improvement, but his tics are much less noticeable now. Really, no one would notice them at this point but me and my husband. I hope this helps and good luck!

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