Trouble with tics

Our expert has a few tips on how you and your child can deal with tics

Q: My six-year-old has recently developed transient (multiple) tic disorder (nodding his head, throwing out his arm, facial tics, occasional kicks). Our doctor says it will go away on its own; meanwhile, we’re working on understanding his triggers and trying to manage this. Any suggestions?

A: Tics can be scary and are certainly a problem socially. Since they usually go away over time, medication is prescribed only for severe or very persistent tics. Learning how to deal with them will help. At this stage, ignoring tics when they occur is best (easier said than done, I know); remember that the movements are involuntary and very often are made worse by paying attention to them. Tics have also been associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety, which may cause some obsessive or compulsive thinking and acting. Make sure that your son’s doctor has ruled out any link to a strep infection, something that is easy to do.

My favourite references are Tics and Tourette Syndrome by Uttom Chowdhury, for you, and Adam and the Magic Marble by Adam and Carol Buhrens, for your little boy.