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Speaking problem - is this vocal tic? please help !!!


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Hi All,

We need help!!

Are stuttering,  speaking unnecessary words in sentences, completing one sentence in a long time due to stuttering and speaking unnecessary words in between tic-related issues or could there be something else. 
We are very concerned because speaking problem has increased a lot in last 2 days. he takes a long time to complete a sentence (not every-time). Could some one please please guide us what can be done and whom should we consult? Not sure how will he be able to cope in school.

Some background:

My 7.5-year-old boy is diagnosed with tics disorder. At the age of 5, we noticed him rolling his eyes the first time which we thought was due to some eye allergy due to change in weather or watching too much of TV.

We gave him some eye drops which settled down the eye rolling. Alter 6 months his eye-rolling appeared again when he was down with a sore throat and fever, we again visited an eye doctor who mentioned this as a tic and gave some eye drops which settled down the eye rolling again.

When he was almost 6 (one month after his operation for tooth crown ) he fell sick again and started with the head, hand, shoulder tics. Visiting neurologist, we realised these are motor tics, we were advised to wait and watch and start a reward chart for positive reinforcement. For the next 1 year, his tics reduced in frequency and severity but never disappeared. Six months ago, my son was down with fever and sore throat which increased his motor tics significantly and few vocal tics have also started which haven’t settled down till now. Instead, sometimes tics get worse and in the last few weeks, he has developed a speaking difficulty as well which forces him to repeat words and change the tone/pitch of few words in a sentence. Since last few days, his speech problem has increased a lot, it takes a long time to complete a sentence.

Visiting neurologist again in late August 2018 we are now referred for review to the developmental paediatrician with the recommendation of clonidine. We are meeting paediatrician at end of November 2018. Reading side effects of medication, we are not keen to go for clonidine.

Since I started reading the book - “Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourette's: A Patient and Family Guide” we have eliminated sugar and trying to avoid preservatives and artificial colours as well. Yesterday we have started magnesium (berry flavoured chewable tablets - 100g per day) with Epsom salt bath. So far, we believe the situation has improved but can’t see much improvement as this type of wax and wane has happened in past too.

Additionally, in past, he has complained about pain in his head and tummy few (5-7) times in 6 months which used to settle down after few hours as doctors just advised to wait. 

Please note that doctors have ruled out PANDAS but have found a genetic connection of tics.

I am so fortunate to know about this blog, thanks to Sheila Rogers DeMare’s life-changing book I came across 3 weeks ago – “Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourette's: A Patient and Family Guide”.

It would be great if someone please review our situation and guide us the type of tests etc we can do in the recommended sequence?

We have high hopes from this blog. We live in New Zealand, please suggest some NZ practitioners if possible.


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Hi there 

My son has similar issues and I am a speech language pathologist.  My regular pediatrician and a neurologist were completely useless. Is it possible for you to see an integrative dr or an environmental dr?  We waited 6 weeks and my son was seen by an integrative dr who is hinting at PANDAS.  We just did extensive lab work via blood and stool.  Our next appointment is in DEC!!!  This is the only hope I have.  I feel main stream medicine is failing us.  Do you have access to any integrative or environmental doctors.  I am seeing some results which I believe are due to seasonal change and 6 weeks of non-negotiable supplements.  I give my son a multi-vitamin, omega vitamin and natural calm supplement.  I hope you find a solution.  As far as the vocal tic goes I would ignore it.  He may be stressed as well.  Let your family members give him time to get his thoughts together and speak without another person interrupting him (this is a challenge in my house as my children are close in age).  BTW dr said if you have a "flare up" give DYE FREE ibuprofen.  

Best of Luck, 



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Hi Susanne,

Thanks for your reply and providing suggestions, much appreciated. 

My son's tics change all the time, every 2 months he will start a few new tics and old one may fade away or stay, at times we have seen whole-body ticing. After removing offending food (which we observed), his motor tics have lessened but we are very concerned about his speaking difficulties and vocal tics. He doesn't have difficulty in every sentence but once in 10 sentences. During book reading, he'll have a flare of speaking, vocal and motor tics. Due to speaking issues and vocal tics (scream etc.), he burns himself out which I can see on his face.

We are working on a multi-tier approach:

Continuously trying to removed offending food  
magnesium - 110 mg per day
Epson salt bath and magnesium cream massage - 2-3 days a week
Essential oils
started fish oil yesterday - keen to observe results 
We have done allergy tests (blood) and stool tests last week, waiting for results today and meeting allergies tomorrow morning - hopefully this will provide some insights
Meeting Naturopath in 3 days - keen to take his opinion
In the last 2-3 days he passing gas so wondering if there could be some problems in the gut, not sure - maybe naturopath will be the right person to discuss this problem?

Interruption while he speaks - very good point but in our case, he is the only child so we patiently wait until he finishes.

We have had 2 opinions from neurologist and physiatrics, in both cases, they have ruled out the PANDAS. Do you think I should arrange a time with Integrative or environmental drs? Additionally, we really want to understand what's going on with speech issues - do you have any other advice, tests etc we can explore? 




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