Vocal and motor ticks in 9yr old girl... Advi... - Pain Concern

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Vocal and motor ticks in 9yr old girl... Advice?


Hey guys,

My 9yr old draught has been displaying ticks for the last 6 months. I'm wondering at what point do I take her to a doctor and what should I expect from them?

For the last few years she's had weird little habits where she'll constantly clear her throat or gulp or similar, that she doesn't really seem aware of but typically only last 5-6 weeks before easing off.

6 months ago, the gulping started again but this time if was accompanied with nodding and "um-hm". At first I thought she was agreeing with me/TV/book etc but I quickly realised it wasn't.

The gulping stopped after 6weeks but the nodding continued.

Fast forward 6m, the nodding continues but is now often accompanied with a hand under her chin/on her throat, "um-hm" and deep throat gulps (almost sounds like she's gagging). These intensify if she's tired or stressed but generally happen every few minutes from when she wakes up to once she's asleep.

I try not to mention it to her much as she gets very self conscious. She's told me that the kids at school are starting to mention it and has also complained that the nodding is giving her headaches.

I've put off seeking medical advice as didn't really think they could do much about it but now that she's getting upset by it and now that it's starting to hurt her, Im wondering if it's time?

Any advice as to what we can expect would be appreciated so I can set her mind at ease as it's probably going to be a few weeks before I we manage to get an appointment!!!

Thanks xx

5 Replies

Oh bugger, I thought I'd posted this on a general forum rather than the pain concern forum! Will try and change it...

Hi take her straight away as this is upsetting her so much, x

Hi Mistee it may be a good idea to see the doctor as soon as you can. This is distressing for you both and some general advice and support from your doctor may ease these concerns. I think there is a web site for Mums where you may find a wider audience although I have no idea how wide these forums are. I think the site is mums.net but perhaps someone with younger knowledge will come along and be able to help. Hope your little one is okay.

I can really relate to the throat cleaning tic. We went through burping, nodding, chest hitting, head hitting, and twiddling the cord of his hoodie. He is 21 now and his stim is brushing his beard with a Victorian silver moustache brush. I don't think your daughter will go onto that one!

In children who are on the autism spectrum these are called stims. It is down to how the brain is wired.

What about keeping a diary of her stims and when they happen, what things are stressing her (the burping got a lot worse when we were in the library, so they gave us a house bound card and we had our books delivered and the burping subsided) and then go to the GP with it. If this is effecting how she is treated at school you need to get them involved sooner rather than later, but the first stop should be the GP.

I actually now look back fondly on some of my son's stims. And it is also a good thermometer for checking to see how stressed they are too!

If it were my daughter I would take her soon. There could be a number of reasons, temporary or long term but best get it checked out so you know how to go forward. I think you are right not to draw attention to it because that may make it worse. If there is a named condition you and she could consider whether you would like her school mates to know and to understand so they don’t tease her.

Please feel free to contact me again if you have further queries.

Good luck.

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