Motor tics in a 9 year old

Hi I am hoping someone can offer some advice. My son is 9 and a half now and has suffered from motor tics pretty constantly since he was 5. He only has simple tics and no vocal tics and no ADHD or OCD. They are hard to watch though as they usually centre around his face mainly the eyes. I thought he had an eye problem originally but that's been ruled out. He excessively blinks really hard scrunching his eyes up and also rolls them. People are starting to notice at school and he is fed up with it himself so I have been to the GP who is going to do some research and try and find out what's best to do to help him.

They are very bad at the moment and I would be grateful if anyone can help. I was wondering if anyone had tried bontech supplements? He is on a 2 week dairy free diet to see if that's a trigger but I am doubtful that will help. He takes fish oils, magnesium and a multivitamin but it doesn't seem to make much difference TBH.

It would be good to find someone else who has experienced this as I don't know anyone else who has!

Thanks :)

20 Replies

  • Hello :) I've had tourettes since I was about 5. Although it started with OCD, the next symptoms were motor tics like your son. I still do them when I'm nervous but luckily when I was little my parents took me to a homeopath and I can honestly say it was the best thing for me and my brother! The medication from the doctors have seriously bad side effects after prolonged use which my mum realised being a nurse. I would seriously recommend finding a good homeopath and trying it out! I believe that my tourettes would have been a lot worse than it now is if it wasn't controlled by that medicine. Hope I've helped! :)

  • I will definitely do that thanks! I don't want to go down the prescription meds route. I am hoping that he will grow out of them as a lot of articles suggest that children with motor tics alone often do (here's hoping)!. Will start looking at this as an option and see what happens. Thanks again x

  • I hope you find a solution! :)

  • Well lets try this again.....First one didn't go.Our son Jacob is 14 now he has had "Tics" for about 8 yrs now. Jacob has the same eye blink,the mouth thing and sometime his shoulders. I can only tell you what we have done to help Jacob with his living with Tics. We educated Jacob about his Tics at a early age. He took that knowledge to school and explained it to his teachers and class mates...It took time but Jacob didn't let Tic's run his life. We have excepted his tics as one of our family members "Jacobs best friend". We are still hoping the old saying "he may grow out of them". So, what we did to help Jacob. One, talk about tics as if its a pet,a friend...etc.... It is a part of your life now. Two, we found many things that "triggered" Jacob tics.....Takes time.......TV, Video games, computer,flashing lights,loud sounds and getting excited of course. We limit theses things and it wayyyy helps Jacob. Jacob has found out himself that when he is tic/ing he reads a book...reg hard back/paper book. Jacob would say " it calms my brain down" Dr's do not know a lot about TS and researching all these yrs on my own, you will see most story's are different. One thing helped Jacob is we always told him ( you have tics but don't let tics have you) don't let it run your life . Now meds......boy oh boy....the Drs want to try this and that......oh its enough to drive a parent crazy. Meds are different for every person but we have found great results with Orap. Jacob takes a total of 4 a day now....(for about 2 yrs) .Started off of course less then that. In- creased only after his Best friend showed his face to much "wink" around Jacob. Jacob has been on Orap for about 6 yrs and yes we know all about the "maybe" it can cause this side affect. Jacob is 14 and he has dealt with his best friend for a time now. We tried to "wing" Jacob off the Orap over the summer >>>>BAD ideal<<<<. Jacob ask us to please put him back on it. Why ? His best friend took over his life in the matter of days and even worse.....meaning Jacob couldn't deal with the hard tics and seeing him, broke our hearts. Hard for a parent that loves there child see them go through this just because of a "might " have a side affect. True some did but also some didn't. I cant tell you the answers you are looking for but let tics be a open book in your life. Talk about it. We like what Orap has done for our son but, is it for everyone, no. but I'm very glad we have it as a part of our life. Any questions ? I'm not a Dr but I am a parent that has a child with TS.

  • Thanks so much for your reply. I am exploring options at the moment and I am going to take him to a hypnotherapist to try and get to the root of any anxiety in case it helps. We are waiting for a possible referral to a paediatrician to see what they say. I am just trying to cope with the stress of having to watch my child suffer which is hard. Hopefully he will get some relief it's just nice to know we aren't alone x

  • Hi there

    Thanks so much for posting you question on HU. I am the research manager at Tourettes Action. I am sorry to hear your son is having a difficult time at the moment.

    Here at Tourettes Action we have a list of therapists that you could take your son to. There are behavioural therapies which can help with tics and they don’t involve any medication

    Please get in touch with the helpline and someone can post or email you the behavioural therapists list we have (Helpdesk 0300 777 8427). There are also a range of leaflets you can be sent which it might be useful to share with the school to explain your son's tics.

    As far as research goes there are no studies showing any effectiveness in relation to supplements or diet changes or the other therapies mentioned in the other replies like hypnotherapy or homeopathy – but some individuals have found alternative therapies to be useful.

    I hope this helps and please feel free to call the helpline and chat to us about this or request information

    Many thanks and best wishes


  • Hello my son had had motor and verbal tics since the age of 3 he is 12 now and wad diagnosed with tourettes at 7. If he has tourettes I believe very little will help the only thing that was useful to my son was to work on his self confidence and teaching him to ignore comments and to inform him of his condition so he could answer questions and speak with confidence. You should be referred to a consultant and down load the information from this site and give it school friends etc most people have no idea what tourettes is really about and what to expect as they grow older . Good luck

  • Hello! I've suffered with motor tics since I was 9, I'm nearly 40 now and still get them! They were at their worst when I was in my teens, they settled quite a bit in my twenties and seemed to pick up again in my thirties. As you get more experienced in having tics, you learn ways to surpress them and ways to teach yourself alternatives that are more socially acceptable. I've never gone down the medication route, but I know that when I was young, my parents making reference to them made them a lot worse. Once, when I was little, my dad shouted at me and said 'stop shaking your bloody head' and I've never forgotten it! Getting enough sleep helps to reduce them, as well as avoiding stressful situations and things that over stimulate the mind. My daughter who is nine has recently shown some signs of developing a couple of tics. If it continues I probably will take her to the doctor, as I wish my parents had when I was small x

  • Thanks everyone for your much needed support! It is hard to watch him have to put up with it and not be able to really help him. I am waiting to hear what the doctor is planning to do re a referral but have taken him to a hypnotherapist. She is doing a session with him next week - if it doesn't do any good it at least won't do him any harm and will maybe help him relax. I make sure he eats a good diet and gets plenty of sleep as well as not making a fuss about him ticcing. He lets them out at home as he knows he can here and none of us will give him a hard time about it. Pretty sure it's not Tourette's as he has never had any vocal tics, but I'm no expert. What sort of tics did you have Lucy34? X

  • My very first one that I can remember was turning my top lip up towards my nose! Bizarre, I know! Then came the shoulder shrugging, and that lasted a long time. The head shaking one was awful and I got bullied in school a fair bit with that one. Another one was when I was walking in the street; I'd have to lift my leg, so my calf was touching my thigh!

    What I have now is not so much tics, but a compulsion to do things. For instance, when I'm driving, I have to look out of the back left window. Don't ask me why, because I have no idea! I have to cross my fingers all the time, and I even do that when I'm sleeping.

    They say that it's only Tourette's it's the motor tics are accompanied by at least one vocal tic. I've never had a vocal tic, so I don't think I have it either ....

  • I used to have OCD when I was younger and still do although it's very mild now. I have the funny compulsions too so I guess it's pretty common! The eye one is the worst for him as people notice it and I don't want him getting bullied for it although he hasn't really yet apart from one kid at school who called him a weirdo - how nice people are sometimes! Guess there's hope it will improve as he ages I am just going to do all I can to support him and have found a support group in my area so fingers crossed! X

  • Hi,

    We stripped back our child's diet right back to the basics of home cooked bread etc. This helped but when stressed the tics come back. Magnesium does help also b vitamins and you have already mentioned fish oils. You need a proper diagnosis. If they are not too bad medication is not really the answer. If it really bothers your child then medication can help. Hope this helps. Take care.

  • Hello. My 7 year old son is also suffering from Tics (motor and vocal) he face grimaces a lot, which is eye stretching, eye rolling and mouth stretching, he also clears his throat a lot. It seems as one Tic gradually fades away another takes its place. Hes also had rapid blinking, shoulder shrugging, hand sniffing, and his new one is puffing out his chest. Its extremely hard to watch him suffer, we've got another doctors appointment this week, but in the past have just been told to ignore his habits and they will go away, but 2 years on we need more help. I'm so worried that hes going to be bullied at school as he gets older :((

  • Hi elp1984,

    I'm really sorry to hear you are going through a hard time with your sons tics :( it's massively difficult to watch them suffer with them isn't it? My son has had them for about 5 years and it's so stressful sometimes it makes me feel ill. I don't know anyone else that has them so this site has been really helpful. At least you know you aren't alone. He has now seen a neurologist who has confirmed they are motor tics but she doesn't think he has Tourette's as he doesn't have any obvious vocal tics. His dad also had motor tics as a child so I have to hope he will grow out of them as his dad did. If you would like a chat anytime you can let me know and I will give you my email address x

  • I've had motor tics for over 25 years and it pains me to see my daughter, who is 9, starting to get them too :( x

  • I can Imagine Lucy34! Hopefully she may grow out of them even though you didn't 😞. Do other people notice your tics or are they quite subtle now you are older? My son has quite a few at the moment are they are really obvious to me but that may be partly as I am so aware of them to start with x

  • They're less obvious in that I have learned how to surpress them a lot better. As a child my parents never acknowledged them, so I suffered loads of bullying. I never knew what was wrong with me and it took until I was in my late teens to start researching things for myself. It really is a cruel condition, especially for children to have x

  • Yes it is dreadful and I really worry about bullying although he has only had the odd incident so far. You know yourself just how cruel children and unfortunately adults too can be! I really hope that your daughter fares better with the invaluable support you will be able to offer her. If you ever want a chat just for some support I can give you my email address x

  • Yes, that would be lovely. Thank you x

  • It's x

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