I’m a 45-year-old mother, wife and school counselor. I’ve been married for 19 years and have two children. My oldest child, son Will, is 14 and in his freshman year of high school. My youngest, Lilly, is 11 and in 6th grade.
Will was about 18 months old when we noticed he was stuttering and stammering. My mother was a speech pathologist in her professional life, and her advice was to allow Will to speak as he needed and not to address the stuttering with him.
People would often try to be helpful and say, “Just take your time, Will”. My mom told us we needed to gently request that people not address the stuttering at all. It was heartbreaking to hear my little boy ask me a question which began “M-m-m-m-mommy?” But like my mother predicted it most likely would, the stuttering passed.
In time, the stuttering was replaced with eye blinking and squinting. This lasted for a few months and would kind of come and go. When Will would get a cough or cold he would clear his throat many times a day. Then, long after the cough and cold had cleared up, he would continue to clear his throat. Both of these activities could certainly have been attributed to other causes such as vision problems or allergies.
There was something predictable about the patterns, though. Having a background in counseling and mental health, I knew in the back of my mind that these were tics.
Still, we took Will to the family doctor. He diagnosed him with Transient Tic Disorder and explained that in some children it disappears and in others, it simply doesn’t. It didn’t in Will’s case. Continue reading