Saturday, January 17, 2015

Diagnosing A Child With Tourette Syndrome: What are Tics? How are Tics Different From Normal Childhood Behavior?

Cerian's Tics: What Do Tics Look Like? 

Here's a video of what to look out for when considering a diagnosis of Tourette's Syndrome or Tic Disorder. This is a video of Cerian! In the video you can see Cerian shrug his shoulders, stretch his mouth and nose, and blink in a repetitive manner. These are simple motor tics. You can also see him sniffing many times. This is a simple vocal tic.
Many children will occasionally shrug their shoulders or sniff. What makes these movements tics rather than regular movements and sounds that are typical for a child of this age?

The key question to ask when determining if something is a tic or a regular behavior is: is the movement or sound repetitive? In other words, does the movement or sound happen multiple times over the course of a day? Does it happen over and over? And does it look very similar each time the child does it?

You can see in the video that Cerian's mouth movements, sniffing, and shrugging all happen again and again over the course of the video. Each time he does it, you can also see that the movements happen in a very similar way and look very similar to the previous movements that he has just done. 

Tics also tend to be quick rather than sustained. They tend to  occur in bouts, where one tic occurs after the next for a period of time. There can be periods where the child displays no tics at all, or periods where the child displays many tics all in a row.  There tends to be no change in consciousness, awareness, or behavior while the child is having tics. If there is a change in your child's level of awareness, consciousness, or behavior during a period of facial movements or other types of movements, then you should immediately consult a doctor and mention this, as this could be a sign of seizure activity.  

If the tics last less than a year, the child may have a transient tic disorder, meaning that the tics will go away. In fact, it's pretty common for children to have tics in childhood that appear for a short period of time and then disappear. 

If your child's has both multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic for more than a year, then your child might have a Tourette's Syndrome, a more chronic tic disorder. Still, the tics of Tourette's may fluctuate in frequency and severity over the course of childhood. Many children with tics grow out of their tics by their teen years. Other children do not grow out of their tics and may have tics in different degrees of severity over the course of their life. 

Remember: If you think your child may have tics or Tourette Syndrome, you should schedule an appointment with your pediatrician or with a pediatric neurologist to rule out the possibility of seizures or other movement disorders.

No comments:

Post a Comment