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    Tics: There and Back Again {Part I}

    November 29, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    Note: Many of you do not know that Afterthoughts receives numerous hits every months from search engines, often using “tics” as one of the key words. We have had quite the journey in the last fifteen months, and I feel compelled to share what we have learned. To you parents who are landing here in hopes of finding the “answer,” I cannot make any promises. I can, however, tell you our story. This series might wander a bit, but in the end, it is my hope that it helps.

    I remember the Fourth of July. It was dark. The fireworks would be starting any time. The children, along with a couple of their friends, were seated in a neat little row on a blanket in front of me. I think they were eating homemade ice cream.

    And I remember that my son had been having tics over and over all day. As they sat in their little row, his shoulders were shrugging repeatedly, and this seemed, for the first time, to disturb his friend. Perhaps it is the age, I reasoned. Both the boys are getting older now. E.’s friends are sure to be noticing his strange behaviors. I tried to shake off a feeling of dread, but as I watched E.’s friend grab E.’s shoulders and try to physically hold them still, I sighed.

    Would this be his entire life? I wondered.

    Eleven months prior had been our first experience with tics. We were thrown into the proverbial deep end. Our son had been over at the house of this same friend. He had played all morning. He even ate lunch there. He came home, but we hardly interacted because it was nap time and he was exhausted, so I put him down soon after his return. He slept a little longer than usual.

    When he awoke, he had tics.

    When I say that he had them, people don’t usually visualize exactly what I mean. He had tics that were so bad he could hardly function. I counted fifteen different behaviors that were repeated so often that he couldn’t play, he couldn’t eat, and he couldn’t hardly complete a sentence. He kicked the back of each leg with the opposite foot so often that he began to trip while walking.

    I was, in all honesty, in shock. I literally thought that, since he had gone to sleep “normal,” he might just wake up fine in the morning and all of it would be a bad dream.

    But he didn’t wake up “normal.”

    We took him to the doctor. I came armed and dangerous. I asked for a complete blood panel, as well as other tests {like copper levels} that aren’t considered standard procedure. The doctor wasn’t going to give him a single test, but he complied when I requested them.

    All the tests came back normal, so the doctor told me to send him to preschool.

    Yes, you read that right.

    No diagnosis, but apparently tics might be stress-related and schedules help. So, even though we lead a pretty scheduled life, and even though sending a child away from a home of security and love might cause extreme agitation and stress, the prescription for this horror of a problem was preschool

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    Read More:
    You are reading Part I
    Read Part II
    Read Part III
    Read Part IV
    Read Part V

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