So you're a parent and your child has Tourette's Syndrome?
How do you cope and do the best you can for your child who has Tourette's?
I'm going to be explaiining from what I know how to support your child who has Tourette's Syndrome and ways to cope and help your child through tough times. I know it's never easy when your child has a problem, but just because they do, doesn't mean they're any different than you. And you can help them through anything life throws.
Hopefully with a bit of advice from me you might find it easier helping your child.
How to identify if your child has Tourette's Syndrome?
I'm going to be explaining and outlining some symptoms if you thiink your child may have Tourette's
Hello and if you're reading this, then I assume your child either has Tourette's Syndrome, or you think he/she may have symptoms relating to Tourette's.
Generally through early childhood, some children can have random periods of ticcing. Where it may be just an eye twitch (blinking uncontrolably) or random arm/leg jerks and movements. Sometimes this is just a passing phase that will go with age. As it was with me in my childhood. But othertimes, it can come back, quite a lot during puberty and like it did with myself, manfest into Tourette's Syndrome.
If your child has had random tic outbreaks in the past, always keep on eye on if they ever come back. Some certain symptoms to look out for in Tourette's Syndrome are motor(musucle) tics and verbal tics, your child has to have both of these to be classed as Tourette's. And to be properly diagnosed with the disorder, they have to of been occuring more than 6 months without a break. As like I said previously, tics can come and go during childhood, they can be brought on due to a number of reasons, mainly stress.
So my child has Tourette's Syndrome, what do I do now?
Helping your child and coming to terms with this disorder can be tough.
It's not always easy coming to terms with the fact your child has an ilness or a disorder in this case. But there are medications that can help! And don't be afraid to go see the Doctor that diagnosed your child and ask to either be refered to someone who knows more about the disorder (I.e. A neurologist) or to ask his advice on starting your child on medication to calm their tics.
Now there are a lot of medications out there that can help by altering the dopamine in the brain (anti-psychotics) but don't be alarmed! They aren't as bad as they may sound. You may find your child doesn't react will to certain medication because it causes him/her to become drowsy or nautious but completely stop the symptoms of Tourette's. The key to finding the perfect mix of medication is just to keep trying ones that your doctor/neurologist suggest. If ones working but not to a point where you feel your childs getting a break from their tics, ask your doctor about maybe increasing the dosage of it, especially if it's not causing no bad side-effects like drowsyness.
In quite a high amount of people with Tourette's Syndrome, especially in cases with children, they tend to also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(or OCD for short) which can as well, be treated with medication. Having your child on multiple medication for different things may seem daunting to begin with, but if it gives them a brighter future and an easier day to day life, it's deffinatly worth taking a look down that road.
What can you do to make your child feel comfertable?
Making your child not feel intimidated or feel like they're doing something wrong is so important in keeping them happy.
My parent's took some getting used to my tics and general behaviour when I was first diagnosed with Tourette's. They didn't really know what to say or what to do for the first few months. So here I am going to be giving you advice on keeping your child happy and doing the best you can to not make them feel intimidated so they don't feel that they're doing something wrong.
Acceptance is the key thing here, you have to understand that your child can't help what they're doing, they don't have control over it so you need to accept that fact and encourage them in school and what they want to aspire to be.
Just because they have Tourette's doesn't mean they're restricted in the world. Sometime's it just requires a little push in the right direction.
If your child has coprolalia(The swearing,obscene language vocal tics) just smile and laugh with them if they laugh, sometimes it can be a bit of a shock what they can come out with, but just acknowladge it and smile, if they say sorry, say there's no need to be sorry for something you can't help.
If your child's depressed at all, just comfort them, try and make them smile and laugh, depression can make tics worse, as can stress. Make sure they know that you're them for them and there's nothing you'd change about them. Afterall, everybodies different, just some more special in different ways. Don't be afraid to laugh if they know you're not laughing at their tics. Happiness is a key factor in life, and that's no different for someone with Tourette's Syndrome.
Going out in public can be a very stressful time for someone with Tourette's, as they are always worried and paranoid of what they might say/do in public. If you're out with your child in public, make sure you let them know you're not embrassed of them, that you're proud of them.
For a child to know that their parent accepts the way they are is such an important factor in their life. It means they don't have to try and hide their tics, or try and suppress them, which ultimately ends up in their tics been much much worse.
Some words of advice
Some last words of adviice to you from someone's child to someone's parent.
I'd just like to say my parents have been so supporting to me over the past decade and a bit, I'm so grateful for all the efforts and comfort that they have brought me. And I'm sure as an amazing parent yourself your child will bare these thoughts in years to come. I know it's not going to be easy and there will be tough times but you will pull through it.
Everything I have wrote in this article are just guidelines, to help you, the parent help your child through whatever may come. Just know that there are support groups available wherever you are. Just know you are not alone, and that you always have each other.