Alternative therapies for 8 yr old with Tourette's

Hi, my daughter is 8yrs and has had Tourette's for around 3 years. It is becoming more obvious as she ages and she is becoming very aware of her tics now. Really don't want to head down the medication road but she is becoming an anxious child which is a vicious cycle as the more anxious she gets the worse the tics become. Does anyone know of any other options that are out there to give her the tools to cope and accept her tics?

She is a very bright girl and loves to be around horses, her tics drastically reduce when on the yard with the horses and we were told when she finds her thing it will give her some temporary relief from them. She now has her own pony and when not at school spends every minute with the horses. The second we get in the car to leave the yard the tics return. I see her distress and as parents we feel totally useless and desperately feel the need to find her some way of finding relief when away from the horses.

Any similar experiences or suggestions shared would be great fully appreciated.

Bright blessings X

5 Replies

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  • Hi Peaches11 thanks for your question. Medication is not the only treatment option for managing tics. Behavioural therapy is a popular approach to managing tics, especially in young people. Tourettes Action have lots of information about behavioural therapy on their website which you can access here:https://www.tourettes-action.org.uk/71-behavioural-therapies.html

    If you contact the Tourettes Action helpdesk, they will also be able to send you a list of therapists in the UK who offer this treatment. The helpdesk is open Monday to Friday, 9am - 3pm 0300 777 8427 or email help@tourettes-action.org.uk

    Tourettes Action also have an information sheet on diet and nutritional supplements which you can find here: tourettes-action.org.uk/sto...

    There is also a documentary featuring renowned neurologist Dr Sacks and a man with TS called Shane Fistell, part of which looks at Shane's relationship with horses which I thought might be of interest:

    Best wishes

    Helen

  • For me, it would depend how severe the Tourette's was and how much it was affecting her life. Two of my children have severe Tourette's and would not have achieved as much as they have without the help from medication. A low dose of something appropriate may also help her manage psychological therapies better.

    My daughter also suffers from anxiety in amongst everything else - and has benefited from being on Propanalol - a beta blocker. Not every medication used in Tourette's has scary side effects. I would keep a broad mind about this

  • Hi my name is Carol Bale and I ran The Tourettes Action Group in Bristol/Sometset for ten years , which I gave up 6 years ago . My son was nearly 19 then and didn't feel the need to be part of the group anymore because he noticed his Tics became worse around others with the condition ! Often picking up new tics from others !!

    However this was not the case to begin with , the whole family got a lot from the groups , being able to talk to others with children with Tourettes , sharing information on hiw to support your child , physically and mentally . Sharing good practice on what seems to ca their tics or how to respond to difficult bouts of tics at home and in public . Share information on how to deal with school and how to get extra support at school , e.g. Where and how to apply , also how to apply for Disability Living Allowance for your child .

    I set up the group after we found little support was available to families with a child with this condition and support for siblings to understand the condition .

    I hope you have contacted Tourettes Action to find your nearest support group .

    However horses definitely help lots of children and adults with disabilities .

    What ever you find your Daughter has a passion for go with it . Because if you can find a hobby that uses 100% of the brain the tics will calm or even stop .

    What helps my son is - X -Box , Down Hill mountain biking , scrambling and driving a car .

    Hope this helps

    Carol Bale

  • Hi medication was the last resort for us too ! As really didn't want to medicate . But he was diognosed at age 7 and he's been in medication since 8 years old . It took s few trials of different medication to find one that helped reduce the severe bouts of tics . The best one for him is Dixerit also known as respiridole . He takes 10 milligrams a day spread out .2 x tablets morning , lunch , dinner and early evening . This is a high dose but his Tourettes and OCD is severe .

    But we soon realised he couldn't live his life without them . He says it takes 70% of tics away and the rest he has learnt to mask with other movements .

  • Music has been great for my son, and he seems to have a gift for it. Probably partly due to his Tourette's, because he has great rhythm and is very quick to pick things up.

    My daughters piano playing has a lovely sensitivity about it. If I could get her to practice enough! Again, I wonder if her emotions are affected by Tourette's and heightened, and this comes out in her musicality.

    As I said before they are both on various medications, and I think that's worthwhile because it helps them cope with life and reduces their ticcing. A Dr once said it may improve their prognosis because the meds help their brain to be more normal. But who knows, I'm not sure Drs know that much about Tourette's- it's such a complex illness.

    My daughter is 17, and her tics are lessening. I could see her coming off her meds sometime in the next year or so. Just to see if she can manage without her Risperidone. I think the ones for ADD and anxiety (she gets overwhelmed with too many stimuli) will continue longer.

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