Our journey with TS started when Ben was very young. I’m not sure that I can give an accurate account of his TS without explaining the other conditions that seem to be part and parcel of his TS.
It is sometimes hard to sort out what category a particular behavior belongs to. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. What I want for Ben (not his real name) is for him to understand and accept who he is, to feel happy and confidant, and know that he can achieve whatever he sets his mind to.
Always a mover and never a sitter, we enjoyed Ben’s playfulness and sense of humor, even as a toddler. He didn’t seem to be able to rein himself in, though, and he spent many a minute in the time-out chair in the kitchen when I just didn’t know what else to do. Once he found out that an ordinary kitchen chair could be used as a jungle gym, he perfected the art of hanging upside down on it.
During his early years, I also had countless positive reinforcement charts for behavior modification, addressing one behavior at a time – brushing his teeth by himself within the third time of being asked, not interrupting his older sister each and every night as she was recounting her day at school so that we could avoid dual meltdowns at the dinner table, earning points for a set amount of TV time so that I could turn off the TV without having him throw a temper tantrum, and so on.
And at the end each day, when winding down was just not an option for Ben, a nice, long bath was always the answer.
In kindergarten, I noticed that he had some difficulty with his letters, and by first grade I pushed for him to have academic intervention in reading. His first-grade teacher was a gem – she would put Ben in the hall and ask him to run 10 of his fastest laps. When Ben would return to class, she would ask him if he was now ready to start math. She modified his work so that he felt success, and he progressed nicely. But yes, still a “bit” wild.
So I brought him to a developmental pediatrician who diagnosed him with ADHD, and we got a 504 plan for him. My husband and I did not want Ben to be thought of as a “bad” kid – he had impulses that he couldn’t control and we wanted the school to recognize that. Continue reading