Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tourette Syndrome

When most people hear the words Tourette Syndrome, they automatically think of someone who yells out profanity or hits themselves involuntary. That is the worst case scenario and its rare.
I had TS growing up, it was not diagnosed until I was 13. I had a very mild case. I have long since grown out of it.

I am starting to wonder if my daughter has it. I have learned recently that it is an inherited disorder. So either of my children could get it.
For a while now she has been showing some symptoms that could be Tourettes. Ticks, as there called. She has always been very fidgety, which may or may not be anything.
She picks at her fingernails and toenails, she makes them bleed from picking them. That's been going on for a while now. But more recently she licks her upper lip until it is red and chapped. I put carmex on it constantly but it wont go away because she wont stop doing it (that is something I did as a child, I don't know how long it lasted).
Also, for the last two weeks she is constantly clearing her throat. (That "tick" bothers me the most, because not only does that hurt her throat, but clearing the throat, specifically, it listed as a symptom of TS).

All of these things could be nothing or it could be TS. That's what makes it hard to diagnose. I am wondering if anyone has any experience with a child with TS? Someone who might be able to give me some advice. Obviously the only way I can maybe get an answer is to take her to a Doctor. But first I am just curious if anyone has any experience in the matter.



  1. I watched a Hallmark movie the end of last year that touched me so much. It was called "Head of the class" I believe. It was about a boy who grew up in the 70's and noone really knew what he had but he was constantly made fun of. Those darn Hallmark movies get to me every time! It was a really great movie!

  2. Hello, Devildog sounds as if maybe your daughter might have TS comorbid with OCD. I have two boys, both diagnosed around age seven, who are largely unaffected by it. The picking thing is by far the worst tic either of them present (the rest are very infrequent mild facial and vocal tics) and the only one we have required them to try and control, as it could be detrimental to their overall health should an infection occur or a certain strain of bacteria picked up via an open wound.

    It's not as common in females as in males, but it does indeed exist. You can find some good information here: (not hyperlinked, as I don't know if your comments support this)

    We are not big on medicating kids, so we've never gone that route, but as stated before their tics have never been severe or sustained enough to warrant such a thing. Most people would probably never realize that they are Touretters without having first been told.

    We are lucky to live near one of the country's foremost pediatric neurologists; he has headed up many studies regarding Tourette in kids. I'd suggest getting your daughter tested, just so you know, and just so you are equipped should tics suddenly increase around puberty (this is not uncommon....our eldest son's did, but then he settled out) and/or your daughter needs some school accomodations in the form of an IEP.

    Our biggest battle has just mostly been ignorance. Everyone thinks that TS is a violent thing, and 'that swearing disease'. We try to educate people quietly where we can --because the next Touretter a person encounters may have extremely severe tics and might benefit from someone's nonjudgemental understanding-- and just go about our business.


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