Wednesday, March 22, 2006

They're a little "tic'd" off

We've had a strange turn of events in our house. While I have been doing so much better, one of my children has worsened.

We noticed the tics a few years ago. They started as vocal hums, usually while we were reading together. We did all the wrong things. "You're making your noises again. Could you stop that?" Ugh. We had no idea. I mean, I had nervous "noises," blinking and things throughout my life and thought I was able to just stop doing them ... as far as I remembered. Then the twitching started. Maybe they have an itchy nose? Does their neck really itch that often? Seems we were always blaming it on itches!!

What we didn't realize for almost two years was that our child has Tourette Syndrome. A family we know has a child with TS. We started to ask questions, compare similarities, and finally when it became an embarrassment to our child, we knew where to go for help.

I remember one other mother, years ago, who was crying over her son's diagnosis of TS. So, all this time later I find myself flashing back to that image ... how horrible it must be to have TS ... what it must mean ... so what the heck DOES it mean?

Well, in our case, it doesn't mean that my child goes through tirades of cursing. Only about 10% of people with TS use inappropriate language or gestures (yet these people can still lead active, productive lives). Primetime and movies may tell you otherwise, but that is actually a rare form of TS. Our child has facial and shoulder movements, vocal humming or mild grunting, etc.

Tourette Syndrome is a very social disorder - it doesn't like to be alone! So, it usually brings along a friend: ADHD, OCD, sleep disorders, among other things. That's what we're dealing with now. Our child has developed a few other issues that have brought us to a place where we need to seek some other options and medications. It has officially started to affect their daily life.

You would be surprised how many people around you have TS but it is being managed very well. You'd also be surprised how much it goes overlooked. For instance, I just realized yesterday that while I THOUGHT my coughing, throat grunting and sniffing were nervous habits that I am able to control ... a good friend got the chuckles and was honest - they're pretty darn constant! I'm just used to it (and my husband has probably learned to just tune me out!). My child came by it honestly ... genetically.

So, the next time you see someone "whooping," jerking or randomly yelling "coffee!" - give them a smile. Every time they can get a tic out of their system, they feel better. Every time you acknowledge them as a human being and show kindness, they feel fabulous!


Praying for your Prodigal said...

My adult son, who is 23, was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome in 2nd grade. Your post is a great one...and necessary to all who know nothing about TS. While Curt's adolescent years were the worst relating to Tourette's....he is currently doing great! The only time the tics seem to reoccur now--is when triggered by stress.

Tourette's is NOT a terminal disease...nor is it the end of the world! By advocating for your will only enhance his/her experience with Tourette's! Keep up the good work.


Happy Mom Tonja said...

What an enlightening post dear Christine! I'm so sorry that your child has to go through this. But you make it sound like less of a negative and more of a "we'll get through this" which is awesome!!!
I will be sure to give a smile and a hug to the next person who shouts out "coffee"...unless of course I'm waiting tables at Bob Evans during the breakfast rush, then I'll just fill em up. But I'll still smile. :o)

Sharon said...

I just watched an amazing show that had a girl w/ Tourette's. Miracle Workers, I think it's called. It was wonderful.

thegoodgeeks said...

Interesting and informative. Thank you for opening eyes on this relavant condition.

Jenn said...

Wow, I've been seeing and hearing a lot about TS lately....

Good info!

CeCe said...

I've never "known" anyone who's had TS before, but I knew of this one guy who worked at New York Fries, and I always used to love watching him when I was kid. He used to whoop and holler and sing and such as he cooked the fries. I just adored him!

Leann said...

Having an answer just seems to give you some direction and a sigh of relief I am sure!!! Praying with you through this process...