Hey everyone. So I just got some old home videos converted into DVD's so that I could watch them. This is a part of one of the home videos that my mom filmed when I was around 3 years old. Please read this post before you watch the video! So my main purpose in sharing this video of myself as a young child is for learning purposes. For parents, teachers, and anyone else who has a young child with TS in their life recognizing tics in a very young child that are more complex along side behavioral issues and associated conditions can be sometimes very difficult and confusing.
This is a video of me when I was about 3 years old, when my tics and associated conditions started to become evident to those around me. It is a fairly long video, but I promise if you stick with it you will learn a lot! My mom filmed a video of me in dance class so that she could show my dad what I was like in dance class compared to the other children. Near the end of the video, you can hear my mom saying in the background, "with her, it just kind of depends, there's no reimer reason" and "Wait until my husband sees this. At least he'll finally get the idea about what I mean by there's something different about her. She just doesn't conform with the other girls." So while my mom recognized at the time that there was something that was different about me, she did not know how to identify what it was that made me different.
My tics were complex so they were not as easily identifiable as blinking tics or head movements. My behavioral issues were also complex. While I was a bright child and was very verbal, in group situations or in situations with a lot of sensory stimuli, I would get overstimulated and I tended to "check out" and go off into my own world of ticcing, staring off into space, and not participating in the activity that was going on around me.
So now I am going to go step by step though the video to give an explination of the different things you see me doing in the video. For this part, I suggest that you read this text side by side while watching parts of the video. I suggest that you read the text that goes with each the part of the video either before, after, or while watching the video depending on your own personal preference.
Start of video: At the start of the video I am participating in the activity and doing what the teacher is telling the class to do! At this point I was probably not too overstimulated by sensory input quite yet.
Around 20 seconds: At around 20 seconds you can see the first facial tic in the video. Facial tics that are smaller can be hard to see and can be easy to write off to things like a child having something in their eye or getting their hair in their face. However for me this was a common facial tic that I had in my childhood. I would do this at many different points during the day and continued to make a similar facial expression for no apparent reason for at least three years. In the video, you can see a complex facial tic. It is complex because I am doing multiple things with my body all at the same time. In the video at 20 seconds you can see that I pull my lips up to show my teeth, pull my mouth to the side, squint my eyes, and swipe my hands across my face. It all happens very quickly though which is why it can be hard to recognize!
45 seconds: At 45 seconds you can see another, yet different, series of tics. First I stick my tongue out quickly (which is kind of hard to see because the camera is shaking a bit, but you will see that one many times later in the video!) and then I quickly pull my mouth to the right side side with my mouth closed and then to the left side while bringing my hand up to swipe it across my face. This is considered a complex motor tic. At this point though I am still participating in the class!
1 minute, 7 seconds: I bring my hands up to my face and start pulling at my cheeks with my hands. This is a complex motor tic.
1 min 14 seconds: My hands move to my lips and then about a second later I start to lick my hands repetitively. And YES licking your hands repetitively is a tic! It is a complex motor tic. I lick my hands for a little bit repeatedly at this part and then I move my hands down to my lips to do a different tic which is a lip pinching tic. This is a complex motor tic.
1 min 33 sec- 1 min 45 sec: my mom started filming my brother who was a baby at the time! You can skip this part if you want! But he was a pretty cute baby :)
1 min 46 sec: I am still participating in the dance but my hands remain up at my mouth doing various tics. Some of the tics that you can see here are mouth pinching tics and tics where I put pressure on my mouth, lips, tongue, and teeth.
2 min 1 sec: You get a pretty good view of yet another complex motor tic. With this tic, I am licking my hand but I am also kind poking my tongue into my hand. I do it two times before I turn away from the camera, but I assume that I did it a few more times while my back is turned from the camera. Still participating in the dance at this point.
2 min 23 sec though 2 min 40 seconds: my mom starts filming my brother yet again. You can skip this part!
2 min 58 sec: For some reason I drop to the ground on my knees at this point and then get right back up. I also am sticking my tongue out and wiggling it from side to side when I do this. The wiggling and sticking out of my tongue is a complex motor tic. I am not however 100% sure what the whole dropping to the floor thing is about. Maybe its just a normal 3 year old thing? Not really sure though. Let me know if you have an idea about what this is!
3 min 4 sec: I stop participating in the dance class. The rest of the girls are singing the song while I stand there staring into space. At this point I think I just got too overstimulated to participate. This is a part of sensory processing disorder (SPD). When kids with SPD get overstimulated and have too much sensory input going on around them (in this case the kids are singing loudly and I have been in a dance class with the a group of girls all doing different things around me for a little bit now) the kids can sometimes "check out"/ go into their own world.
3 min 9 sec: Simple motor tic. I pull my the corners of my lips up (which looks like a quick smile) first on my left side then on my right side.
3 min 13 sec: complex motor tic. I bring my hands up to my mouth again and start pulling on my cheeks and pulling at my fingers around my mouth. At this point I also start stepping out of the line, not paying attention to the fact that I am supposed to be staying in line with the rest of the girls and singing the song. This may also be ADHD/ADD but I am not 100% sure.
3 min 35 seconds: someone off camera says "can you get in line?" to me and completely ignore them as if I had not even heard what she said. My best guess is that this is because I am too overstimulated sensory wise because of my SPD and I have checked out from all sensory input, including auditory stimuli.
3 min 40 seconds: you can see that I am still standing out of line. I am doing the hand licking complex motor tic again and walking aimlessly. I continue to lick my fingers, poke my tongue into my hand, and walk aimlessly out of the line. The teacher says off camera to me"can you follow the girls for me?" and yet again I completely ignore her and continue to lick my hands.
4 min 44 sec: I am still not participating in the dance class. I am facing away from the girls who are participating and am doing my lip pinching tic which is a complex motor tic.
4 min 47 sec: I am semi-participating again. I have gone to put on a tu tu skirt with the rest of the girls. I proceed to put it on! I loved dressing up!
5 min 25 sec: I am back to participating with the group dance lesson with the other girls. I am walking with the other girls but I am not doing the different moves like the other girls are doing like turning around and putting my arms up. Walking aimlessly in a circle seems like something I am prepared to do at this point.
5 min 58 sec: My hands are back up at my mouth and again I am doing the hand licking tic. At 6 min, I push my hand repetitively into my tongue and then continue to lick my hand. This is a series of complex tics. Throughout this though I seem to be trying to participate in the class, but I am still distracted by my tics and the sensory input so I am not participating fully. I keep my hands up at my mouth.
6 min 24 sec: Another hand licking tic and then I move on to licking some of my fingers individually which is also a complex tic.
6 min 29 sec: More hand licking tics and pushing my hand against my tongue repetitively and quickly. Then I move on to a lip pinching tic.
6 min 39 sec: I put my hand into a fist and am now pushing my fist into my tongue. This is also another variation of the previous tic. This is a complex motor tic. I do this quite a few times and keep my hands up at my mouth. I also start wiping my mouth with my hands and arms. This is also a complex tic.
7 min 01 sec: I open my mouth, stick my tongue out, and grab my tongue with my fingers and pinch/squeeze my tongue repetitively. This is a complex tic. I am still trying to participate in the dance lesson but am highly distracted by my tics and the sensory input.
7 min 10 seconds: More hand licking tics.
7 min 24 seconds: I start specifically running my thumb against my tongue. This is a variation of the hand licking tics, and is also a complex motor tic. While I am doing this I am to distracted by the tic to participate in the dance so I am just standing.
7 min 41 seconds: Small simple facial tic. I pull the left corner of my lip up and squint a bit.
7 min 58 sec: I am participating with the class but am sticking my tongue out and wiggling it from side to side. This is a complex motor tic. This is also the part where you hear my mom say in the background "with her, it just kind of depends, there's no reimer reason".
8 min 17 sec: I am no longer participating with the group. I am now doing a hand licking tic again and start doing the tic where I hit my hands against my tongue. You can see it close up with the part of the video. I do start singing with the rest of the girls after I am done with that series of tics though but I am behind the rest of the girls and not in line.
8 min 36 sec: I stop singing and do a simple facial tic where I pull the right corner of my lip upwards and squint. I then start singing after that again though.
8 min 54 sec: I put my hands back up to my mouth and do the licking tic. Then I turn around to face the wall away from the teacher . The teacher then tells me to turn back around and I pay attention to her this time and turn back around briefly but then quickly turn back to face the wall and just stand there. Sensory overstimulation!
9 min 26 sec: I am still turned around towards the wall standing and not participating. This is when you can here that my mom says in the background, "Wait until my husband sees this. At least he'll finally get the idea about what I mean by there's something different about her. She just doesn't conform with the other girls."
9 min 33 sec: I drop to the floor on my knees again. I'm still not sure if this is a tic or if it is normal behavior or if it is something else? After that I walk aimlessly around with my hands on and off my mouth.
9 min 48 sec: I start singing again with the group and then while singing put my hands back up to my mouth
10 min 2 sec: I put my hands up to my lips and put pressure on my lips with my fingers. This is a complex motor tic. The girl next to me tries to grab my hand for the bow but I cant take my hands off my lips to do this. I do a little bow white my hands are still on my lips.
Well that's the video! I hope this helped you to identify some different types of tics and behaviors associated with tourette's like sensory processing disorder and maybe some ADD/ADHD thrown in there as well. If you have any questions, comments, or anything else feel free to comment below or message me! I will also add some other videos of my tics and sensory processing disorder related behavior to the page probably later on tonight or tomorrow.
Also my question for you as parents, teachers, or anyone else is if this was your child, if your child was doing these kinds of repetitive movements and was not able to participate like the other children at this age what would you have done? Although my mom was filming this video for the purposes of showing my dad how I was "different" than the other kids in dance class, she didn't really go any farther than showing the video to my dad. I am not sure what my dad's reaction was at the time when he saw the video, but I do know I was never taken to a doctor or a psychologist of any kind by my parents to talk about these issues. My parents seemed to be under the impression that their parenting had somehow gone wrong and that they just needed to break my "habits" and make me learn how to pay attention more and then I wouldn't be different any more. So the issue was never looked into. I did not grow out of it. My tics continued to get worse and my parents continued to try to stop me from ticcing be telling me simply to stop.
I might think that after a while of trying to get me to stop by telling me to stop not seeming to have any effect or be working at all that my parents might have looked into other options like maybe taking me to see someone and getting advice from a professional but that just never happened when I was a child.
As many of you on this page know, I was diagnosed with sensory processing issues when I was in 3rd grade by an Occupational Therapist I was seeing to try to improve my handwriting, was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder in around 5th grade, was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, dysgraphia (disorder of handwriting), discalula (disorder of math calculation) in 10th grade, and was finally diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome when I was 16 and in 11 grade when I forced my parents to take me to a neurologist because I needed to know what my tics really were for myself.
Even after my diagnosis of Tourette's my parents did not believe I was given the correct diagnosis. They still believed I could just stop my "habits" if I really tried hard enough even though they had the proof of the past about 13 years saying otherwise. So my question for you is seeing these kinds of symptoms at such an early age and then seeing the progression of these symptoms what would you have done?