hi everyone,I'm very worried about my 14 yr old son. he's had tics since he was 8yrs old but has managed to make excuses for them at school

. Last week he rang me very destessed saying that his head was jerking uncontrollably and everyone was looking at him, which in turn led to him having a panic attack. the head jerking still hasn't stopped and is giving him neck pain and headaches and is making him really upset. He has been off school since and this is definately the worst tic that he has had as he cant desguise it. I feel so helpless, and am worried for his future. i took him to the docs and she has reffered him to a psycologist but his appointment is not for another month. Any advice would be appreciated as I am crying as I'm writing this.

18 Replies

  • I have a similar tic, I think if he can explain what's going on to his best mates as they're probably worried about him to. Have a meeting with his form tutor/year head also explain the situation. For the pain try a wheat pillow thingy, the sort that you put in the microwave and massaging the area, if it still hurts paracetamol. Just remain calm, TS constantly throws new challenges at you, I'm currently rolling my eyes all over place and crossing them which makes things tricky.

  • Hi Catherine

    Thank you so much for your reply. I rang the head of pastoral care and explained everything and they were very supportive so I feel better today. My son also feels relieved as he was worried about missing lessons but they are sending him some on-line work to do from home which takes the pressure off him. The head jerking is weird as when he is sat down with his head supported, he doesn't do it, but as soon as he stands up, it starts! I massaged it last night and it seemed to help, just hope the tic will ease soon.

    Thanks again, its my first time on a forum and it helps to talk to someone who is going through the same thing.

    Take care.

  • Hi there, i do feel for you as i have been in your position a few years back. My daughter who is now 13yrs has had ts since she was 6yrs and is so much better now. A couple of things, does your son have medication and do you attend a ts clinic? My daughter was really bad with her tics around the age of 8 and 9yrs and really bad when she started secondary school. She goes to Evelina Hospital every 6mths to attend a ts clinic that has been just set up. She takes clonidine every night,currently she is on 2 tablets but at her worse she was on 6tablets. She is now through the worse of it . You really wouldnt know she had ts if you saw her. Please dont lose hope, he will get through this,we as parents need to be calm and patient with them even if it breaks our hearts watching them go through this. I have cried buckets watching my daughter go through this. There are lots of books you can read to help you and your son through this, the one i have is Tics and Tourette Syndrome and it is by Uttom Chowdhury. It might help if you printed of some pointers for your sons teachers. You can find a section in the book to help you with this. Good Luck and be strong :))

  • Hi,

    Thanks for your reply.

    He has his first appiontment in August with a psycologist so I'm not quite sure what to expect really, I supppose its just to get a history and to talk about his anxiety and tics. To be honest I thought he might have been growing out of them as he has only had 1 mild tic for quite a while so i dont know what triggered the head jerking off. I think the big problem is his anxiety as he worries about everything and can't sleep at night as he says his mind wont swithc off! its been nearly 2 weeks now and he is still jerking his head and in the past a paticular tic has usually eased after a week so this is his worst one. He is getting so frustrated with it and wont go out in public because he says people will be looking at him. I am trying my best to reassure him and telling him it will pass but I'm very worried for him and for his future as he'l be going into yr 10 in September and will have to deal with a lot more school work and social pressure. If only I had a magic wand! although I bet you have said that yourself many times!

    Thanks again and take care.

  • Hi, i am very surprised that you have not been referred sooner. Just a thought,does your son have exams this term? Im asking because my daughter who is coming out of yr8 and starts yr9 in september, has just been asked to choose her options. She is already showing some signs of stress!

    My daughter also worries about every thing. As you probably know tics do generally "wax and wane" . There is also the possibility his hormones are playing a big part in this. All you can do is what you are doing which is reassuring him and lots of cuddles (thats if he likes cuddles from mum!!) do try and read up on the condition,as the saying goes "knowledge is power"the more you can do the better,it also shows your son that you are doing your bit to try and help. I know that it helps my daughter,i'm always referring back to my book!!! I am happy to help with any questions as i have books to help!! :)

  • HI,

    Yes he will have exams in yr 10 which i am dreading because I know he will getting stressed out. He is very bright (in all the top groups) and I think sometimes they push them too much, they are already giving them GCSE papers! I think we need to think about some therapy for his anxiety, maybe the doc will suggest CBT. I too have thought that his hormones kicking in might have made his tics worse, he's certainly been more moody! but thats just all 14 yr olds!

    Thanks for your help and advice.

  • No Problem, happy to help out. :))

  • Hi Shazt

    I found these publications very useful when my son was having TS and ADHD problems at school....




    and this is the web page where you can find these and other publications.....


    What I try to do with my son whose tics have increased since his GCSE's is to pretend not to notice his tics so that I am making him feel more comfortable about doing them. Tourette's doesn't go away but tic's can increase if they think you are noticing each one. So try to carry on as though he is not ticcing and this will make him less self-conscious. Obviously give him help when he is in pain but try not to show if you are upset as it can worry him and bring on more tics. I know it's hard but your son must try not to be worried about ticcing in front of others. If he has a good group of friends this will help him if he can relax when in their company. It is a heartbreaking time but you will both get through it x x

  • hi taffy,

    thanks for your support, its really helped talking to other parents going through the same thing. Thanks for recommending the publications, I'l have a look at them. i am trying to ignore the tic and telling him to keep calm but he is very frustrated with it, everytime he does it , he sighs or tuts, he feels really embarassed. i really feel for him, as a mother i just want to make it stop and feel useless that i cant but I'm trying to stay positive.

    thanks again, take care.

  • Hi my son is 9 and has had Tourette's for 4 years even on medication he tics quite a lot. He used to worry about people staring at him, (his tics are very violent) but i have always told him that it isn't his problem and luckly his friends just accept him for him .. Strangers tho do tend to stare, we had an issue in a McDonald's a few months ago where he was trying to eat and this women turned to me and said " children like that shouldn't be in public" I confess I wanted to kill her but simply said - ignorant people like you should have been drowned at birth, my son thought it was great and re-enforced what we have always told him we love him no matter what and will not allow people to bully him. With your support and love he will come through this and he will gain enough confidence to enable him to return to his normal routine. Good luck and god bless x

  • Thank you Ernie. I can't believe that people can be so rude and ignorant about your son, that is despicable. my son's head jerking has stopped now,( it lasted 3 and a half weeks) and he is feeling a lot better. He just went back to school yesterday so we had the usual blinking, sniffing and shoulder shrugging because he was feeling anxious but he can cope with them.

    Thanks again and best wishes to you and your son.

  • Hi Shatz

    I've a son at home at the moment with a chronic bout of tics. It feels a hopeless situation it fat the moment. He's never been diagnosed with tourettes - just chronic tics mainly because I think that he responded well to natropathic treatments and biofeedback. So far though none of these are having an impact. He has hardly been to school. At the moment he cant stop shaking his hands and the kids think he's messing about (or mimicking him) and doing it back. His neck, thigh and jaw are all ticcing as well. I dont see how he can stay on at a grammar school as its so fast paced and although some teachers understand, some are downright ignorant. I'm even considering giving up work as it's terrible having to leave him at home in this condition. How did the assessment go? Did they offer you anything?

  • Hiya jordan,

    I really feel for you, its so upsetting seeing them like that and you can't do anything to help them. Do his tics ease sometimes? My sons arn't too bad at the moment, the main one is blinking but i'm dreading the head jerking coming back as like your son I had to keep him off school. It would be a shame if he had to quit school as hes obviously a bright boy if hes at grammer school. Have you spoke to his head of year? maybe they could arrange some home tuition for him? As for the assement.... The doctor said that he's not got tourettes, just tics. Hes discharged him for now but said we can go back and see him if they get worse. That was it, no further help. I give my son Rescue Remedy to help with his anxiety and I do feel that it helps him. I also give him a Magnesium tablet and Vitamin B complex as I read that they help with muscle control.

    Good luck, sending you both a big hug!

  • thanks Shazt - it really helps to talk to another mum. Marcus used to respond really well to natropathy where they assess which part of his body is causing the stress and make up specific herbal drops for this. If your son is taking rescue remedy and it works I would find a Homeopath who deals with tics and take him along. you will be amazed how effective this can be. we have also started giving my son green algae tablets to see if they help, magnesium and Vit B complex and 'Clear Recovery Protocol (this is a 7 week course to rebalance the system). we are in week 3 now but not much improvement unlike before. the head of year is supportive but the teachers dont understand and give him a hard time. I think now he might have ADD as he cannot sit and concentrate for very long. A tutor at this stage would not work for him unfortunately. Please give the homeopath a try as we found it great for years!

  • hiya Jordan.

    maybe you need to take him back to the docs and get him re-assesed?. The herbal medication doesn't seem to be helping him and his tics are interfering with his every day life. He could need some prescription medication, although i've read that it doesn't work for everyone and sometimes makes the tics worse but i suppose you could discuss this with the doctor. You could also discuss the worry of him having ADD which is linked with tics and tourettes.

    Good luck with everything and stay strong x

  • Hi Everyone,

    When I was 14 I had similar ticks and they drove me crazy and all I wanted was for someone to understand me....I remember one night ticking outrageously and it was only because I couldn’t stop thinking about the bad things that were going on in my family at the time and all of that stuff just seemed to bother me really bad so I was uncontrollable. My mom had a good friend name Susan that rubbed my back for about an hour before going to bed that night letting me know that it’s ok and believe it or not that worked. I don’t know if this was a mind thing or not but her support and listening to her repeat the same phase to me over and over eventually calmed me down and I was able to sleep.

    I know this may seem out of reach for many of you busy parents but it’s all about time and understanding and making sure that your child is comfortable approaching you even when they’re at their worst.

    The only time I would hide what I was going through as a child when I felt like it would bother someone.

  • Hiya showoff,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. You said that your tics were bad at age 14, are you much older now? and have they eased as you've got older? My son is hoping that his tics will ease with time, I think they are worse because he has hit puberty, What you said about having your back rubbed to calm you down made sense as I also give my son head, neck and back massages and it does help him.

    Thanks again and take care.

  • Hi everyone, My son is in yr 11. He has complex tics and we found it helpful to talk to the school. On request, our son has dropped a subject to give him extra time to concentrate on the subjects he needs. He also takes exams on his own with an invigilator so that he is free to tic without suppressing and doesn't disturb others. He gets extra time becase he is dyslexic, but I would otherwise have asked for this as it takes time to tic! So far these measures have helped to lessen his anxiety a bit during exams. ...

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