This past May, my seven-year-old son started to have chronic, frequent head-rolling tics. It was initially caused by a stressful sports competition. He is a perfectionist and he put a lot of pressure on himself and he even had a panic attack while we were there. After the competition, it took about a week or two for the panic attacks to stop, but the tics stayed.
We caught it right away and within a few weeks we had the Natural Treatments for Tics and Tourette’s book from your organization. For almost a year before this he had been clearing his throat repeatedly, but we didn’t recognize it as a tic until now. We also took him to a massage therapist and a whole-body chiropractor to help calm down his system.
With coaching from the book, we eliminated gluten, corn, dairy and sugar from his diet. Within a few weeks we noticed a huge difference. We’ve also eliminated preservatives, colors and artificial everything. I read all of the ingredients for all of the food we buy him. When we first started the diet I kept a food journal for about a month and wrote everything down–good days, bad days, etc.
Corn was the last food that we took away. When the corn was removed the tics dramatically decreased. They aren’t gone completely, but man, what a difference. Instead of a tic a couple times a minute, it’s every hour to a few hours. We realized corn, wheat and sugar cane are all in the grass family and that his system doesn’t respond well to it. We are in the beginning process of reintroducing foods back into his diet. We are trying cheese this week—so far so good!
I’ll tell ya, he has been a trooper. He doesn’t really complain much about the diet. His biggest concern is not having a birthday cake for his 8th birthday next week. We found a local vegan, gluten-free bakery that is making special cupcakes for him, minus the frosting. My mom is testing out different agave nectar based frostings, without too much success so far (but she is determined!)
I started the diet right when school ended, so for the whole summer I’ve had complete control over what he ate. School is starting next week, too. I’m worried about all of the treats and cupcakes and things that will be there. I plan on giving the teacher a treat stache for my son full of fruit leathers and things I know he can eat. That way, anytime another student brings treats to school he will be able to eat something special as well.
I recommend that at least one other person in the house do the diet along with the child. I’m doing it with my son so he doesn’t feel like he’s alone. (Although I do cheat sometimes when I’m without him.) My hubby has his own diet restrictions due to other health issues, like mold exposure and possible Lyme disease, otherwise he would join us. It’s a team effort for sure! His grandparents are also heavily supportive.
Also, no one in the family says the word “tics” in front of him EVER! We just tell him something like, “We’re testing out this food to see if you react or if it makes you feel better.” We never pay attention to the tics when they are happening.
In addition to working with his diet, we’ve completely eliminated cartoons and playing video games, but he didn’t spend much time playing video games beforehand anyway. We also limit his time watching Netflix on my phone. The phone seems to be a trigger as well. He can watch Netflix on the TV or the computer, but for some reason the small screen affects him. We encourage him to watch slower TV shows, like documentaries and nature shows. Some of the faster, sporadic shows (non-cartoons) effect him too. He also took a few months off of sports as well to calm his system down. He just started going back to his sport, and while he is there the tics reappear, but they go away by the time we are home. This is a tough one to limit because he needs exercise to relieve stress, to be social and to be healthy. But one thing is for sure, no more competitions!
Other exciting activities can also increase his tics temporarily, and they go away after an hour or so.
My husband is very allergic to chemicals, so our home was already a chemical-free zone. I clean with vinegar only!
We did add magnesium to his diet with the CALM powder. We don’t give it to him every night, but we do give it to him often. We also give him acidophilus. We also got a number of tests done. PANDAS (negative), SPECTRA CELL (which is a complete blood work that tells any vitamin deficiencies he may have. Magnesium was fine, actually. B vitamins were not.) We then took a saliva test for him through 23andme.com. This is a DNA ancestry test, but it also tells you what your body can’t detox or absorb. We found out my son doesn’t absorb vitamin B well and he doesn’t absorb gluten either.
Luckily, husband is a neurofeedback/biofeedback therapist. He often does biofeedback, breathing techniques and meditation with our son. We meditate as a family sometimes as well.
We are still on this journey and we’re not giving up. It’s a complete lifestyle change. But it’s worth it when it comes to his well being. I’m so happy that we’ve seen a change. It’s not over yet, but in just a matter of a few months, we’ve come a long way and we’re willing to do whatever it takes.
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