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Guest joy
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My son who has had tics for years which never interfered with his life, is increasingly doing vocal tics at home (not at school or otherwise in public). The tics are clearly triggered by video games, tv and the computer, as well as when he reads "graphic novels"(black and white action comic books). He gets very angry with me when I try to stop him. He is a very bright boy (in a gifted school) and feels that if he completes his school work and brings home As, then he's entitled to "relax." When I suggest that he's being overstimulated and that he should at least try to cut down on tv, video games and computer, he gets very upset. He refuses to talk to me about it because, from his perspective, he doesn't see a problem (so he says). Anyone have similar experiences or can offer some advice?

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My son is 14. I'm also concerned that if I don't intervene and he keeps doing these vocal tics, then his tics might get worse. Previously, he would do a tic for a week, it would go away, and then a different one would start at some later date. Yet his current vocal tics have lasted for three months (again, mostly at home and triggered by visual stimulation). What is also surprising is that when his friends are over and he plays video games, he hardly does any tics at all.

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We tried a no screens week, but it was too hard. The we let my son use just the lap top as it had an lcd screen. After reading all Claire had to say I watched him while on the computer. Like your son, he hardly tic's when friends are over, or when he is concentrating on something like the computer game. We chatted about it in light of our no screen week and he suggested that when he plays on the computer he is so busy thinking about his next move he doesn't have time to tic (go figure) then he suggested maybe he should be allowed to play on the computer for all his non school waking hours, as then it would stop his tics.

 

Some of these kids are too smart for their own good!

 

Needless to say, I was not encouraging of his plan. He did say it with a smile though.

 

At church my son has certain responsibilites to help with at the front of the meeting. I notice he does not tic at all during that time either.

 

I wonder how much kids can suppress them? Or is simply being focused on something else that makes the difference?

 

Caz

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Joy, Caz

 

Caz--many people have commented that kids don't tic while concentrating on something. In fact, for as many kids that ticced worse during computer games, I have heard almost as many that ticced less during computer games. Both groups benefitted equally when they were stopped. In fact, I think the focus/ticcing less issue in some ways is worse, because parents don't even recognize that it is actually a trigger. One parent, Jennifer G used to have her son play MORE computer to stop a neck tic. Later she realized that the neck tic completely disappeared after a week without computer.

 

Joy,

 

Congratulations on recognizing this trigger for your child. From the 'surveys' and trials done here, it appears to be pretty common. Here is a thread compiling experiences--I also bumped it. I won't repeat information on the thread, so please read this --plus I have lots of other threads on this.

 

http://www.latitudes.org/forums/index.php?...st=0entry5737

 

Ok, there is an excellent chance that your assessment is correct. Unfortunately, some of us, including myself, have also noticed behavior changes associated with computer. Sometimes I swear it is this legally addictive horrible thing put into our homes set to mess up our children's neurological systems (or cause obesity in others). Probably the same children who are most affected, also find it the toughest to turn off--the very nature of some of the games triggers some compulsivity.

 

Also, the black and white graphics--or any graphics are a factor for many too. THis is discussed on photosensitive epilepsy sites (different condition, same trigger). Two of our kids got tics reading the piano music scores.

 

What the heck do people do with teens???? For a younger child, it can 'break' or just be 'gone'. But teens are older and not so easily swayed. Honestly, I had an easier time when my own son watched zero computer than when he had a little time allowed. This 'no screens' week that Caz mentioned, and is on my thread is sooo telling to everyone. And yet, most teens would choose tics over abstinence, in my opinion. Yet the abstinence is only temporary.

 

What finally worked for my was a combination of bribery and laying down the law. I told him that he couldn't do it, then we discussed what would be a good 'reward' for going a whole week without it. I target the week, both because both of you will see differences by then (assuming it is a trigger of course!), and also because it seems to break the habit (addiction!). We got lots of comic books and CD's to get him through.

 

Does your son not care about the tics? Or would he choose tics and computer play vs no tics? Or does he not believe they are correlated? Is there something he might get for Christmas that could motivate him to try this? It is soooo much more likely to succeed if they agree. Maybe have him read the summary link of what happened to others. Too bad we can't get our kids to write in what they think of the whole trade-off.

 

Anyway, this removal should be temporary, and not 'life long'. Please read the threads for more on this one. But truly, a week with 'no screens' is, in my opinion, the only way to truly know what your teen's 'baseline' is, as relates to TV. Later we introduced the LCD monitors, but as you noticed, the graphics themselves can be an issue.

 

Even so, only you can make the trade-offs for your son--resentment vs tic improvement. I wish you luck, and wish it weren't so hard. I still think it is more a reflection of the addictiveness of the games and our new lifestyles than any natural joys of childhood, but it is very real. The only thing I/we can offer is that for many of us, it made a major difference. Some of our kids went completely tic-free without screens. And after 9 months of natural treatments, my son can have unlimited viewing on LCD monitors. (Of course, I don't allow unlimited viewing for other health reasons).

 

Claire

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Claire, Thank you so much for all the information. As far as my son, it is going to be tough to get him to agree. (Although I'm not giving up.) He thinks it's my problem that I don't want to hear his vocal tics, not his. And my husband and my older son (not being his mother :huh: , don't seem concerned. Do you know whether he is doing "harm" to himself by exposure to these triggers. In other words, can the constant ticcing cause him to develop more frequent, more complex tics which he would not be able to suppress as he now does in public? Finally, as I'm a newcomer, can you tell me where I can learn more about food sensitivities and supplements? Thanks very much.

Joy

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I bumped the one week to fewer tics thread I put together.

 

Also, Chemar, Heather, and Ausclare have started threads on what worked for their children.

 

Truly, the investment in reading as many of the threads as possible will pay off--there are subtleties discussed in all the threads, with each member contributing to the knowledge base. We all have customized our approaches for what worked with our child, though certainly diets, supplements, screen issues, metals/yeast have been common (though not everyone has everything).

 

Just post any questions on the various threads.

 

Claire

 

ps Ausclare, if you are reading this--good for your son for posting. That takes a lot of courage and shows a desire to help.

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