Aww yes, it’s that time again, the s-word … school! With my sidekick (a.k.a The Husband) and armed with a 10-year-old Big Sister, our son Andrew had his arsenal for gearing off to kindergarten. Since his recent diagnosis of TS+ and Vitiligo, Andrew has been anything but accustomed to a “normal” routine. This is not to say he doesn’t have a routine that we as a family try and follow, but it’s tailored for our unique qualities of life. ;)
Andrew has his daily struggles with his big sister and the constant annoyances that accompany their arguments — the tics. Most of his tics are the typical vocal and motor tics such as the grunting, sniffing, eye blinking, burping and shoulder/arm twitching. As you can imagine, the big sister has a hard time dealing with the burping and odd sounds that spurt out of her little brother’s lips, especially since they can be relentless and unforgiving of when and where.
This is not to say that the two of them don’t work things out it, just takes patience, which from a 5-year-old and 10-year-old sounds a lot like chaos. ;) His big sister has learned to manage her emotions and practice consideration and empathy for her little brother. This has been a huge hurdle but the rewards are priceless!
I have to give credit to the many parents of children with Tourette Syndrome — it’s tough explaining over and over again that your child has no control over their tics and how your child’s social behavior is not intended to be out of spite or lack of discipline.
Considering all of this brings me back to Andrew’s first day of kindergarten. We know most little ones are undergoing the overwhelming emotions they are feeling for the first time along with their proud and anxious parents. Myself and my husband were anticipating our son’s future, like most. ;)
How many phone calls were we going to be receiving regarding our son’s behavior along with his social acceptance from the other children. Keep in mind our son is a social butterfly, but not at first. He tends to separate himself and just study the other children, and when he finally builds up his courage, he jumps right in, as if he was there all along.
This tends to spark a social cue for those concerned, but we have seen our son in action and he has had no trouble with his social life, especially making new friends. :) His sentence syntax and conjugations are above his age range and that would be our only concern, he speaks above his age group. Hey I can gloat to this issue. ;)
Nevertheless, we stood there by the playground fence and watched helplessly from 20 feet away as Andrew grabbed a twig and gently broke it down to nothing while catching glimpses of the nearby children running and laughing. We had the deepest empathy, that others would embrace our little man for his kindness, innocence, generosity and not be distorted or afraid of his differences.
As I pulled into the school parking lot later that afternoon, this surge of overwhelming joy and relief filled my entire body inside and out! There were our two incredible kiddos smiling and waving. :) Andrew’s teacher reassured us that Andrew’s tics, so far weren’t impairing his learning or social behavior and that most classmates ignored the few tics he did display. We shall see what the future brings. :)