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

“Ducks” and the beginning of our TS journey

When I first suspected and began to research TS I said to myself, okay, okay it will be alright. I am the type of person who will research, read, research, and read whatever I can on any challenge that affects my life. I need to know everything about it so that I can make informed choices. Although I had suspected TS, it was till a bombshell that had exploded, however, I kept moving on for every detail I could find about TS. I was given so much help during this time from the neurologist, PATSA, blogs, books, and movies. The book that I still refer to is “Against Medical Advice,” by James Patterson and Hal Friedman, and the Hallmark movie, “Head of the Class.” These and more helped me so much in the beginning and to this day. I want to be able to help other parents, especially new parents, to know that TS is not a death sentence. It is the beginning of a journey we begin for our children by learning about TS, and the tools they need to be successful, and eventually transfer the reins to them.

My son has TS. We talk about TS as if it is a “Person” or “Entity.” When he was younger, I wanted to identify TS not as something bad, but to get him to understand what he could and could not do in order to control TS as much as possible. One of the other things we do is call his tics “Ducks.” I will say, I think I see a “duck.” Sometimes he will agree, or not. We will go through this a few more times maybe over a week or two, until I say nope, I was wrong, or he realizes that there is really a “duck” roaming around. At that point we will discuss if Competing Responses are necessary, or if he just has to make note of it. We have come a long way from the beginning when we first found out about his diagnoses. He has come a long way, and I am so proud of him. He was accepted and attended the Tim Howard Leadership Academy last summer, and he said on the ride home, “Mom I heard about kids with TS but I never saw any, and I felt like home for the first time.” What more can a mother ask for from her child.

20 Ways to Reduce Tics

family-11

As many of you know, I’m all about raising a kid whose spirit outweighs a few tics. But now that my baby is, gulp, a month shy of 13, it’s become apparent yet again to take a look at management. His tics are loud. I mean, so loud and startling at times that this morning I yelled, “Holy Tic Man, take it down a notch!”

I get that he can’t help ticking. And I’m beyond happy that he’s okay with his Tourettes. (I know that many of your babies are not as comfortable with them. We deal with other issues and believe me, I get the heartbreak. You have an ally in me!)

But here’s the deal: I suffer from anxiety. I do. It’s waaaaay better now than it’s ever been, but here’s why. I don’t get to sit around all day and tell my husband through tears, “Ohhhh, I can’t work and pay the mortgage. I’m having a pity party and you’re not invited.” No. I take responsibility for my tendency to feel more neurotic than Willy Allen on 3 cups of Expresso fearful at times. I:

  • Eat well
  • Exercise
  • Take a little bit of Zoloft
  • Go to a few meetings each week
  • Talk to a therapist when I feel overwhelmed
  • Sleep well
  • Stay off of all mind alterating substances (No doobage and booze for this gal. I’ve been tempted lately, believe me, but I refrain.)
  • 2 cups of regular coffee in the morning only

The same has become true for Stink. The time has come for him to be a bit more pro-active with his vocal outbursts. If he can’t control them on his own (which apparently he can’t) we get to help him. We are the parents. We make the rules.

If you’re in that boat of wanting to suppress tics, here are some options for you.

BASICS (We’re on all of this except the dairy. That’s next.)

  1. Limit Screen time
  2. Insist on at least 30 minutes of exercise every day
  3. Limit sugar, food dyes and artificial flavors.
  4. Insist on a strong multi-vitamin
  5. Insist on a really good night sleep
  6. Get off gluten
  7. Get off dairy

MORE ADVANCED (We have the doctor and we started the magnesium. Next is the Taurine)

9. Naturopath – find one in your area that will take an integrative approach to tics. Ask him or her about supplements.

10. Supplements – Ask your naturopath about Taurine, Magnesium, a good fish oil

SUPER INDEPTH (This is happening in January after Ticmas Christmas.)

11. Salvia Test: Complete a 23andme.com‘s genetic saliva test to see what his DNA has to show for itself. Once you know, your doctor can see what is working in his body and what is not and treat it more efficiently.

12. Finger Stick Food Allergy – Get a finger stick food allergy panel by Alletess Labs.  Cost is $120. The test kit is sent to you, you can perform it in the convenience of your home and and then ship directly to the lab. Have results sent to your doctor. Once you know what your child is allergic to, you can start eliminating offending foods.

BONUS OPTIONS

13. GAPS: The GAPS diet is very intricate, but it has stunning results. In a nutshell, it heals the stomach lining so that food no longer slips through the holes, hits the blood stream and causes brain inflammation (which can cause tics.) Personally I would not resort to this diet without knowing if your child does indeed have a leaky gut. I would work with a naturopath on this.

14. Hemp Oil: There has been much research lately about the non-habit forming part of the pot leaf providing tremendous relief (or shall we say “re-leaf” for tics and twitches. Here is a link that someone in my Twitch and Bitch provided. Her son’s tics were so bad he had to miss school. They are 90% reduced now.

15. CBT: Known as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, this technique allows a child to transfer a loud or strong tic into one that is quieter and less obvious. It requires a certified therapist to work with your child.

16. Meditation: Just 30 minutes of meditation per day can rewire neurons and calm down the dopamine that causes tics. Learning to breathe and center oneself can keep give your child an opportunity to have more control.

17. Therapy: Having your child talk to a therapist can be huge in teaching them how to advocate for themselves. It’s crucial (in my humble opinion) to have them see their part in everything. While they can’t control tics, they can control how they advocate for themselves and how they behave toward others.

18. Treat the other Conditions: Most kids with tics have other issues. Often times when one treats the ADHD or the OCD (or whatever else is present) the child is calmer and the tics become fewer.

19. Hobbies: Insist on helping them find a hobby they love: Often times when a child finds something they are passionate about, the tics become less when they are focused on it.

20. Love Them and Have Fun: That is the best tip of all. Your child might not always remember a tic free childhood, but they will hopefully remember one filled with the support of people who adored them no matter what.

AF1

Come back this week as I’ll break down this list over the course of the next six weeks, giving more detail on each tip.

Until then, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

My book, Happily Ticked Off, is available on Pre-Order on Amazon. Get your copy today!

Happily Ticked offIf you would like to read more from me, please check me out on my new website, http://www.andreafrazerwrites.com.

HolisTIC: Magnesium Citrate and Taurine

This post is dedicated to Veronica, who was sweet enough to write me a little note asking me where the heck I have been. She misses me! Hooray! I have missed this site, too. To be honest, I have been kind of a whirling dervish of house work, kids, trying to figure out employment, getting a new job, quitting because my boss was an 84-year old maniac who couldn’t stop screaming about my subject lines “Horseshxt! Superfulous Horsehixt!”, fretting over finances, attempting not to fret over finances and ultimately deciding that my priority for now is to be as present with my kids as possible given that we have a four-month summer coming up.

Yes, let me say that again. FOUR MONTHS.

Here is how I feel about that concept.

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Just kidding. It’s more like this.

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But that’s okay. I am going to make the most of it. I have finally decided to make my income by concentrating full-time on Ebay and freelance writing. Sounds like a weird mix, but it works.

Writing Clients

Blogging for a surrogacy company – GlobalIVF

Bloggin for a prescription discount company – SimpleRX

Ebay

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Here’s my store. I am figuring out the most efficient ways to list, sell and ship my items. The ultimate goal is less thrift store items and more New with Tag items purchased downtown. I figure if I buy the same item in bulk, I only have to list it once rather than taking a gazillion photos/day. Other than filling orders, I can spend my time taking care of my wee ones and working on my book marketing which leads me to my final two points:

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Happily Ticked Off — The Book, Part 6: Chapter 3

At long last, here is Chapter 3 of my book “Happily Ticked Off” for you to read if you’re interested. I hope to share more with you on this book’s progress, my writing progress and my kid’s crazy life in 2015.

As always, I’d love to hear from you, too!

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Chapter 3 — ScholasTIC

Your TS Child (And you, freaked out mama) 

Will Surive Grammar School

Five Years Later

Fourth grade started out like third grade. It had only been three weeks and I’d been stopped by the teacher three times. The first incident was innocuous enough.

“Mrs. Frazer!” Nicky’s teacher, Chris, called to me with a smile.

I internally kicked myself. “All this could have been avoided if I’d picked him up in the carpool line. This thought was quickly replaced with, “Just because you avoid an issue doesn’t make the issue go away. It just prolongs it.”

I had one more thought that went something like, “Stop talking to yourself and pay attention to the teacher- ooooooh, a hummingbird!” at which point I directed my concentration where it belonged. Turns out, if only Nicky had done the same thing, I wouldn’t be standing in the blue door frame of an elementary school room on a Friday afternoon.

“Nicky had a hard time focusing today,” he informed me.

Last year, upon hearing similar words from his third grade teacher, my face dropped like a bad L.A. facelift. I was crushed. Four years into his TS diagnosis, his tics were still pretty minimal. With his penchant for pink umbrellas and impromptu standup routines, I knew he’d never be an academic soldier, dotting his i’s and crossing his t’s with laser like precision. But I was still holding on to the hope that Nicky’s eccentricities wouldn’t mark him as different.

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Happily Ticked Off — The Book, Part 5: Chapter 2

At long last, here is Chapter 2 of my book “Happily Ticked Off” for you to read if you’re interested. I hope to share more with you on this book’s progress, my writing progress and my kid’s crazy life in 2015.

As always, I’d love to hear from you, too!

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Chapter 2 — CinemaTIC

Tourette Syndrome – Movie Style!

If Tourettes’ was your movie, what genre would you write? Whatever you choose, be prepared for lots of action, drama, tears and laughter. 

Selling a movie isn’t much different than being handed a Tourette’s diagnosis. Both involve stories of heartfelt love, drama and unpredictability. Most people have a general idea of what might be involved to proceed, but when push comes to shove, no one is really prepared for all the twists and turns.

What path does one take?

What people do you need to speak to?

Do you have to spend a ton of time and money to get great results or is it just one giant crap shoot? And really, like the script itself, is there a happy ending?

It occurs to me that despite big talk about loving the adventure of movies and parenthood, everyone feels the most safe and satisfied when they can count on the big shiny finale. Give us happy bows and Happy Meals. Let us get fat on security and hold a bit tighter to our overpriced gallon sized Diet Cokes through the scary parts, because at the end it’ll be worth it. That theme song will blare and the credits will roll.  Boy that was sure scary there for a while, but look how great it all turned out. And that heroine sure had great hair the entire time – even during the knife fight.

The problem with tics is that you can’t count on that perfect happy ending wrapped up with a bow.  There are millions of ways to manage Tourettes, and with a personal plan, created through trial and error, oftentimes one can suppress the symptoms a good deal, but there is no perfect solution.

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Happily Ticked Off — The Book, Part 4: Chapter 1

At long last, here is Chapter 1 of my book “Happily Ticked Off” for you to read if you’re interested. I hope to share more with you on this book’s progress, my writing progress and my kid’s crazy life in 2015.

As always, I’d love to hear from you, too!

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Chapter 1 — UnrealisTIC

Your dreams are not your kid’s dreams. Listen to well meaning educators, even if it’s scary, and trust your instincts. Oh, and get some real friends – the ones that will listen to you cry, make you laugh, and call you on your crap. Trust me on that last part.

I am not the first parent in the world to feel insecure about parenting, nor will I be the last. Special needs or not, giving birth is one big lottery ticket. You are literally making a bargain with the universe that you will do everything in your power to keep your kid safe, to make him strong, to give him values and a sense of self, but at any time he could come down with some devastating illness or get hit by a taco truck. And just like that, all those years of telling him to pick up his socks or shut the fridge to save five cents would be wasted. And you’d never be able to eat Mexican food again.

The above statement sounds so fatalistic. Most people prefer not to even think about it, and who can blame them? It’s scary. It’s unnerving.  And it’s exactly these terrifying fears that drive today’s marketing.

Rich ad execs everywhere are mortgaging their mansions based on Just In Case advertising:  Bank that cord blood just in case your kid comes down with some terminal illness.… Spend the extra hundred and fifty dollars on the Britax car seat just in case you’re hit by an out of control taco truck… Buy the brand name diaper cream just in case your baby’s butt breaks out in hives and ruins your Disney Cruise.  For that matter, book that Disney Cruise whether or not you can afford it just in case your kid grows up to hate you. You can show him, and the grandkids, those pictures of the four of you in Mickey hats coughing up a lung with laughter on the lido deck. Now how could you be a bad parent with proof like that?

Like most people, I wanted the best for my toddler. While I prided myself in not falling prey to every Mommy and Me Groupon that promised to make my son smarter than Einstein, I was also on a pretty strict budget. I couldn’t afford a four hundred dollar car seat or a fancy vacation even if I wanted one. But I did want the best for his education.

As the product of Catholic school myself, I was sure my son would enjoy the same benefits of a private Christian environment – and it was never too early to start. Nicky was three – a year away from his Tourettes diagnosis. As far as I was concerned, his educational career would be nothing but smooth sailing, so why not start him off right?

Against my husband’s wishes on the matter, who figured the local community college co-op would be just fine for our active and friendly tyke, I signed Nicky up for an elite preschool ten miles away. Distance was no barrier to my son’s learning.  He deserved the best.  And that “best” just happened to reside on a campus adjacent to the very grammar school I had attended.

The day I turned in his registration – an intense intake form that was more detailed than his hospital exit papers – I ran into women I hadn’t seen in 20 years. Those freckle faced school girls of my memories had morphed into botoxed 30-something women. Ugg boots replaced saddle shoes.  Flat-ironed hair replaced ponytails and braids. The only thing familiar was the uneasy pit in my stomach.

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NEW BOOK: “Life is Trichy”

“My hair is scattered across my keyboard, desktop, and floor; yet, I need to find a way to continue my typing. I know what this means. This is not a hallucination. This is not a dream. This is not a random actuality. This is something called Trichotillomania.

More strands of hair fall than remain attached. Boredom. A dime-sized region of baldness becomes the diameter of a grapefruit. Fear. Relapse becomes the norm. Disappointment. A classmate finds out and questions a solitary hair spike. Humiliation.

I did not mean to pull out my hair, but I did. I do not know what I was thinking or feeling at the time, but I pulled anyway. I wish I could announce that it was an isolated incident, but it continued….”


LIFE IS TRICHY is the true story of a 29-year-old lifelong perfectionist, who struggled with the mental health disorders of skin picking, nail biting, and hair pulling. Starting from a young age, these behaviors resulted in years spent hiding these body-focused repetitive behaviors from everyone she knew, while simultaneously pursuing a professional career in psychology  – so that one day she could help others with the same exact challenges. She tactfully weaves the actions, feelings, and thoughts from years of sitting in the patient’s seat, with her professional, psychological knowledge in the clinician’s seat.

sD (1 of 1)Author Lindsey Marie Muller’s personal struggle mixes with factual information to elucidate the tricky and unspoken truth about a classification of disorders affecting five percent of the population. Life is Trichy is appropriate for clinicians, patients, family and friends of hair pullers, and curious minds.

Lindsey holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology, a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, in addition to three years of doctoral level education. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California where she enjoys the perfect weather, exercising, healthy cooking, sugar-free baking, spas, and meditation. She currently works in private practice.Life is Trichy is her first publication.

Life is Trichy is available in paperback and Kindle format and on sale at www.lifeistrichy.com. A portion of each book sale will be donated to BFRB research.

Happily Ticked Off — The Book, Part 3: Story time

Here is a fascinating story from the introduction of my book “Happily Ticked Off” for you to read if you’re interested. I hope to share more with you on this book’s progress, my writing progress and my kid’s crazy life in 2015.

As always, I’d love to hear from you, too!

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Story Time

One of my favorite all time stories about special needs is called “Welcome to Holland.” I took the liberty of adapting it for my experience with Tourettes.

One day a family of five boarded a plane headed for London. It was winter, which meant their luggage was filled with sweaters, thick wooly socks, mittens and scarves. The mother, who had dreamed of this vacation ever since she had children ten years prior, had planned out the entire trip in painstaking detail. They would have tea near Buckingham Palace after shopping at Harrods. They would tour the Tate and take a family Christmas photo in front of Big Ben.  They would catch a show in the West End and go to mass at St. Paul’s. 

After two hours on the plane, she looked over at her three children who had magically fallen asleep in the seats between herself and her handsome husband. She grabbed her mate’s strong hand, smiling at how perfectly everything had fallen into place.

At one point the captain’s voice streamed over the P.A. system.  “Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for flying with us today. Due to some unexpected orders from the ground crew, this plane will no longer be flying to England. We will be changing directions entirely and landing in Africa. I can’t give you much information other than we cannot alter our course. You will have no choice but to make the best of the new arrangement. We’re not sure when we’ll be able to get you back home but you all seem like capable people who can wing it just fine. So, with that in mind, enjoy your new destination!”

Understandably, the mother was horrified at this news. Her husband remained cool and collected. She was both grateful, and horrified, that he wasn’t as freaked out as she was. How could he be so calm??! How could this enormous error happen? She wasn’t prepared for this abrupt switch of plans! This was not the way her dream vacation was supposed to go! The remainder of the flight was spent in abject misery as she ruminated, sulked, cried, moaned, hollered and generally cursed her fate.

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Happily Ticked Off — The Book, Part 2: More introduction

Here is the second part of the introduction from my book “Happily Ticked Off” for you to read if you’re interested. I hope to share more with you on this book’s progress, my writing progress and my kid’s crazy life in 2015.

As always, I’d love to hear from you, too!

TOC

Introduction, Part 2

Self-Esteem

Many of you will opt for a more natural route to easing tics, but worry about your child’s self-esteem while you work out a game plan. You don’t want him teased. Your heart breaks that some nasty kid will poke fun at his arm thrusting tic.

I understand your concern. I was crushed at the prospect of some bully tormenting my baby. But I set my emotions aside and focused on a more important reality: Cruel kids are going to tease other children whether or not those children have tics.  My son’s heart, character and personality would define him, not his tics. (Chapter B)

“That’s easier said than done,” you might wail.

To that I will respond with a resounding, “Duh.” But with practice, you’ll learn to focus on your child’s strengths, not his tics.

Mild Tics/Mild Annoyance

If your child has mild tics, there’s a good chance he doesn’t notice them or isn’t bothered by them.

This last statement is hard to believe, but it’s true. Your kid might be happily watching Spongebob, coughing like a bronchitis stricken seal six times a minute, and his only complaint at the end of the show will be, “Mommy, I could really go for a bologna and cheese sandwich.”

Your Child’s Life Is Not Over

To highly tuned-in mamas like yourselves, your children’s inability to be affected by tics is baffling, because every minor gulp, throat clear and tongue click will be magnified into LOUD! RICOCHETING! EXPLOSIONS!  They will boom like a fog horn in your ringing ears, taunting you that “Your child’s life is O-V-E-R.”

Your child’s life is far from over. Tics or TS is not a death sentence. The only thing that needs to die is your old vision of what you thought your child’s life would look like. He can experience as much success as a non-ticking child. 

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