Why Your Child with Tourettes Will Be Set for Success

Set-for-Success

Last year, while I was pregnant, I wrote about some of the thoughts that ran through my head, particularly about the possibility of genetically passing my Tourettes down to my baby. Apparently, I’m not the only one. I’ve had multiple parents write in to me, concerned about giving their children their disorder.

We know the pain that comes when someone tells you to, “stop that,” because they find our tics annoying. We hate the idea of our children being harassed by playmates, school peers, even coworkers one day because we know we won’t always be there to stick up for them.

I recently received a comment on my post, “6 Ways to Support Your Friend with Tourettes,” from a gentleman, stating his father used to hit him when he ticced because he thought it was on purpose. I know someone personally whose grandmother slapped him when he would tic for the same reason. Books like, “Front of the Class” by Brad Cohen, and “World’s Strongest Librarian,” by Josh Hanagarne record struggles that the authors go through even as adults that involve being thrown out of theaters and restaurants, and struggling to find a job with an employer who can see (or hear) past the tics.

As I type this, I’m watching Jelly Bean sleeping through the monitor. She turned 10 months old this week, and that kid already has my entire being wrapped around her little pinky. Her smile, her slobbery kisses, the sparkle in her eyes, the way she looks at me when I walk into the room makes me want to sob with joy, as well as fear. Like so many other parents with tics, I ask,

“If she inherits my tics, how do I watch her face the cruelty this world heaps onto those who are different?”

You will know that your child is already one step ahead of where you were because your child will have a parent who:

  • will better know how to recognize tics if they appear
  • will better know to bring her to her pediatrician to see if she needs a diagnosis
  • can go to bat for him if he needs extra time at school, by requesting a 504 or educating his school staff about Tourettes (because believe me, not many people know)
  • can share your tricks with him when he struggles to manage his tics in church, or to leave if they become overwhelming
  • can understand and empathize when the tics strike, instead of embarrassing him for it or telling him to quit
  • can help her siblings understand that she needs their support, not their jokes
  • can teach him to self-advocate in situations where his disorder is misunderstood
  • can teach him to educate others about his own condition
  • can help him do his best to find employment where he can soar beyond people’s expectations
  • can build her up so she’s less afraid to tell a significant other about her disorder
  • can help him see that the world is still his…he’ll just have to come at it from a different angle than some other people

We want so desperately to promise our babies that they won’t struggle the way we did. But we can’t. What we can promise is to be their cheerleaders when they stumble, their voices when they can’t speak up for themselves. We can listen when they need to talk, and hug if they need to be held. We can let them know they’re not alone. We can help them learn management techniques that we’ve picked up over the years, and help them develop healthy habits like maintaining healthy diets and regularly exercising. We can make a list of tics and habits for the pediatrician so he knows which direction he should be looking in. We can show our children they deserve to be loved and respected like everyone else. We can love them, not in spite of their tics, but for who they are as whole, complete, real people. We can pray for them until our knees go numb.

Tourettes may have been Hell for your when you were young, but that doesn’t mean it has to be that way for your child. My parents made a world of difference in helping me see myself with the same kind of worth I saw in other people without Tourettes. You can do the same for your children, making their lives better than yours was because you, their parents, care. And that is exactly what our children need.

Tip #3 to Reduce Tics: Limit Artificial Flavors

rainbow-of-risksGreetings from TicVille:

Yes, despite my big hopes that Taurine was the magic elixir that was going to eliminate all tics, twitches and noise, they are back. Turns out… crazy as this is going to sound…. that MY KID HAS TOURETTE SYNDROME. Apparently there is not a one-size-fits-all cure.

That said, the tics are not as bad as they have been in the past, leading me to believe that the Taurine and Magnesium protocol is helping. As soon as money permits we’ll go back to our favorite  nutritionist to get the rest of the testing done.

  • Does he he need to go on GAPS due to a leaky gut?
  • Does he need to eliminate dairy?
  • Does he need detox from some heavy metals left over from his vaccinations years ago?

Perhaps all of it. The old Andrea would want to do that now! Now! Now! The new Andrea… the one who is trying to pause before freaking out… is going to take it one day at a time. That seems to make life more tolerable – not just for me, but for everyone in my family.

Here’s the deal, folk. My kid is already 13. I can spend the rest of his remaining childhood freaking out over this crazy syndrome – about everything I could or could not be doing – or I can attempt to do the best I can and just love the hell out of him. I’m choosing the second.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to keep him as healthy as possible which leads to Tip #3 on my tic reduction list: Limiting Food Dye.

Below are a few excerpts from this post that talks talks about why it’s been banned in Europe.

“In 2008, a ruling was passed banning the use of the specific food colors in the UK [7]. This followed allegations that the artificial food colors used have promoted health problems in children [8]. Consequently, the UK Food Standards Agency has called for the ban on the use of six foods coloring in the preparation of ingestible products such as foods and drinks since they have been associated with promoting hyperactivity in children .”

And then there’s this:

“In the United States, there have been legal battles over the use of synthetic banned food dyes by Kraft Foods Group Inc. by two mothers. The two women wanted Kraft to adopt safer natural food coloring in the making of food products as practiced in many other countries such as the UK but declined to adopt the use of the natural food dyes.”

Does it Really Make a Difference?

This post talks about how the verdict is still out on food dye. It says that some kids aren’t affected by it at all, while others are highly allergic. My kid is probably somewhere in between. My goal is to keep him eating as clean as possible and then just hope for the best.

2016 – Making Good Choices for Mama!

I don’t 100% know if food dye makes a difference, but I know what does: taking care of me. That’s the goal this year. Why? Because if I don’t, who will?

As I head into 2016, I’m once again looking at my different work options. My husband is in Year 3 of his own business, and while it’s doing okay, we need the income. Ideally I’d do something that really uses my skills, like writing musicals about Tourettes and going on tour as the spokesperson for Yuban! But until that ideal job comes along, I have my freelance writing clients and my Ebay biz. I will take a steady approach to applying and not get crazy… like this morning… when after ONE HOUR of applying for an online job I was booted off the system. Oh, yeah, that was fun. I’m  not 100% sure what “taking it easy” with this job hunt will mean, but I do know this: God has a plan.

Being a Ball of Nerves Doesn’t Work – Who Knew?

It seems to me that when I get into self-will I get myself into a load of trouble. I’ve decided this year that rather than go nuts trying to make something happen come hell or high water (which involves lots of arguing, stress and occasionally screaming at my kids that “Your room looks like a Salvation Army with a bad case of the runs!” which… well… does not a peaceful bedtime make) I’ll just do a little bit each day.

And then I’ll rest.

Like today, when I stopped for an hour to have a cup of coffee with Marta, the 67 year old neighbor, who put in her teeth for the occasion and told me all about her son in Mexico who runs his own I.T. business and is sending his ma-mah on a $3000 tour of her home country in the Spring.

Do I want the tics to go away? Yes. But more important than that, I want to be sure I don’t miss out on the joy of my son’s beautiful laugh.

Do I want to make more money so my kids don’t have teeth resembling Tom Sawyer’s garden gate? Absolutely. But until that happens, there’s a Costco run in a few weeks with my adopted Jewish Bubba, Ginnie.

Do I want my kids to clean their room? Yes. But until they get their own space (which they’ll have in a few weeks thanks to a big rearrange) I’m just going to let the room go. Why? Because in the big scheme of life, it’s not important. But other things are.

gegegThere’s cake to be baked with my daughter.

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There’s a warm fire to be had this evening where my son, tics and all, will read a chapter to me of The Hunger Games. (I’ll take it before he realizes just how uncool his mother really is.) There will, of course, be food! (Everything is better with Mexican food. Thank you, Fred – the kid’s janitor at public school – who makes a tamale like nobody’s business.)

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And there’s this blog to write.

In the hustle and bustle of making a buck, I’ve missed my personal writing. It’s what makes my soul happy. If you’ll check in, I’ll write.

Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

Happily Ticked off

Tip #2 to Limit Tics: Exercise

1I won’t lie. My kid like to exercise as much as the Kardashian girls like to wear clothing. But never the less, it’s needed. I have no grand illusion that exercise is going to rid my kid of any particular vocal or physical tic, but it absolutely makes a difference in his mental energy.

And mine.

For the past nine months he’s taken a tennis class at the local park. It’s once a week only but there’s nothing more hilarious than watching a bunch of tween nerdy boys running around the court banging balls at each others’heads. I mean… it’s excellent exercise and great at controlling Dopamine production!

Every day but Fridays we walk to school. It’s as much about talking as it is about the walking. Given he’s now 13 (oy, can’t believe it) I’ll take all the bonding time I can get.

A few weeks ago, after our local city holiday parade, my daughter stayed with my husband to do some cleanup for the Kiwanis club. My son and I walked the whole three miles home. Despite some pretty steady vocal tics on his part, it was hard for me to worry about it or be frustrated. The sights of the floats, the sounds of Christmas music blaring through the radios of the viewers, the many dogs and babies waddling through the crowd… it made me happy to be alive.

Him: “Mom, I really want a new Nintendo DS for Christmas.”

Me: “Why? You already have a computer and a tablet.”

Him: “You already have a bunch of coffee cups, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy another one, right?”

Me: “Yes, but my hobby is a lot less expensive than yours.”

Him: “True, dat. But come on, Mom, don’t you ever want something just because it’s awesome and fun and you can’t wait to get your hands around it?”

Me: I wanted to shout, “Yes, it’s called you! Stop growing so fast!” Instead I went with, “Yeah. Yeah I have.”

And then he slipped his hand in mine. For the next mile we walked side by side, our fingers entwined. With his head at my shoulder, I can already tell he’ll surpass me by summer. I took it in… every step… and thanked God for him. For the walks. For everything.

And right there I made a commitment to have joy and gratitude in 2016 no matter what. So far, I haven’t missed a day of good old fashioned positive thinking. That’s exercise I could get used to.

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PS: And as life would have it – the moment I decided to stop living in my comfort zone (fear and worry) the tics went away. The reason? Jesus appeared in my morning Yuban and blessed me with the Holy Spirit of Tourette Syndrome TAURINE. More later. (Tics down from even last post!)

Until next time, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you can’t change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB