My daughter "Ab" has been dealing with many different issues since the age of 4. Right after she turned 4, she started displaying tics such as eye blinking, finger bending/stretching, and a low, quiet "uh" sound. I brought her in to her Pediatrician's office for an appointment, and ended up seeing another Dr. at the small clinic because her Dr. was on vacation. The man had the audacity to tell me that my daughter had nothing wrong with her, and she was just acting out because I didn't give her enough love and attention! Those were his exact words... "You don't give her enough love and attention". I was appalled!! Yes, I was only 27 years old (and looked 18), but that doesn't make me a bad parent. I was a VERY involved, AT HOME mother. My daughter had my 24/7 attention!! We were ALWAYS playing, exploring outside, mommy & me classes, going to parks, riding bike, roller skating, playing sports, cuddling, doing crafts, pizza day parties, picnics, spa play, learning, etc. She had SO much love and attention from me (and her father, grandparents, uncles, cousins, and neighborhood friends). We even co-slept!! I'm sure you can imagine how upset, royally mad, offended, and confused I was.
I brought her into a different clinic the following day and met with a new Pediatrician. He diagnosed my daughter with "tic disorder" and spent a good 10 minutes reassuring me that the last Dr I had seen was incompetent and horrible, that I had done NOTHING wrong to cause this, and that it's either a childhood phase or a neurological condition called Tourette Syndrome. He explained to me that tics, both motor and vocal, need to be present for at least a year before a diagnosis of Tourette would be given, and that I should just continue to monitor to the tics. He said that they could go away, or may get worse. He shortly after left the clinic to "move back to his home state".
The tics continued, constantly waxing and waning (coming and going, like a rollercoaster), and every time a set disappeared, a new set would shortly take it's place. In the beginning, most of the sets would bring all new tics. After a bit, previous tics started to re-emerge but she always has a different combination of tics each cycle. Most of her tics have been harmless but there have been a few that have become quit painful, aggravating, and embarrassing for her. As soon as the pain and frustration started, I brought her in to her current Pediatrician for a referral.
We were referred to a Pediatric Neurologist for evaluation, and he did fully diagnose Tourette Syndrome. This was at age 6.5, so 2.5 years after the tics started. Ab is currently 3 months shy of turning 8 years old.
We've begun to experience many more ailments with Ab within this past year, and are now getting further testing and treatment for those. Tourette Syndrome has quite a few common co-morbid disorders, and it seems like Ab has gotten hit with them all. She suffers from extreme anxiety (and now looking back, I believe she's had this all her life and we mistakenly took it as shyness and timidness), severe insomnia, migraines, OCD, sensory integration, and some difficulty with learning; slightly with reading, a lot with math, and some speech pronunciation issues at ages 4-5 that required therapy at school. She may possibly be ADHD, but it's so hard to know with so many of her current problems having overlapping symptoms with ADHD. I guess we'll find out soon.
We haven't medicated Ab up until now, but due to the severity that everything has become within the last few months, we are presently looking into a (hopefully mild) medication to help her. She is so overtaken with frustration, anger, and sadness lately that I feel it's required for her at this point. I hate the idea of medicating my 7 year old, and even more so seeing as the medication choices are so potent, but it really has come to the point that it's required for her happiness and health.
Aside from Tourette's and all it's co-morbid issues, Ab is an amazing, beautiful, hilarious, creative, spunky, sweet kid. When she isn't overly frustrated from her tics, she is the funniest little kid in town. She loves to make jokes, do goofy things, and pull little pranks on people... a whoopee cushion being her current fav She excels naturally in ballet and jazz, and also loves gymnastics, baseball, swimming, and just being a crazy wild kid. She is an absolute blessing, a gift straight from the heavens, and no doubt the apple of my eye.
Tic loud, and Tic proud! Love who you are no matter what that entails, and never, EVER let anyone bring you down!
**I love you Ab, you make me more proud than anything in this world. You are the reason I wake up every day! Never forget how special, how wonderful, and how loved you truly are.**
Ab at 4 years old when her first tics started:
Ab at 6 years old when she was diagnosed: