After taking their son to a neurologist without good answers, a reader wrote with a question:
“Anthony is 10-years-old and attends 5th grade in a small private school. He has a 93 average and always receives an A in conduct. He is a well-adjusted child who participates in sports and has many friends. So what’s wrong with the picture? The minute he goes into his room to watch TV or play a video game the “music” begins.
His throat clearing and nasal snorts have become increasingly loud and more frequent. At times at his worst his body visibly jerks. I took him 2 years in a row to a neurologist who just did a preliminary office exam and interview. The only recommendation was to go for blood work to test for strep and he recommended a psychiatric exam which I refused. Why not an EEG study? There are other times when he starts to exhibit tics but never in school. How can this be?”
Unfortunately, doctors rarely examine why symptoms are worse in one location than another, or in one situation or another. The recommendation to simply test for strep (and get a psychiatric exam!) is an example. The good news for Anthony is he does not always exhibit tics, and they tend to occur in the same location. This suggests something in the environment is playing a key role. Parents need to be detectives to discover what may be triggering the tics. This family is off to a good start, because the primary location where tics flare has already been isolated to the child’s bedroom where he watches TV or plays video games. We have 7 suggestions.