Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Not ticks like a dog would get but tics like a twitch...

Occasionally between the ages of 4 and 8, our Youngest Son would start blinking like crazy. Sometimes to the point of making a little headtwitch with it. He’s such a cool guy, it pained us to see it happen. It seems to have settled down now. Each doctor we took him to said it was probably an allergy, though we’ve not been able to find what out what kind. It's since disappeared...

However, I found information like the following both reassuring and helpful in terms of responding well to the ‘behaviour’ while it was happening.

NOTE: The following information and advice is taken from the Raising Children Network…

Tics are muscle spasms that cause jerky movements, such as blinking, twitching of the face or jerky movements of the arm or shoulder, that seem out of the child’s control.
  • The movement may start because of discomfort, e.g. blinking a lot may be caused by eyesight problems, and nose twitching may be caused by an allergy.
  • A child can usually stop a tic for a short time if asked, but it sometimes comes back when she is not concentrating on stopping it.
  • Sometimes tics are caused by health problems such as Tourette syndrome.
  • Tics may be triggered by stress in the child’s life, e.g. learning difficulties, family problems.
  • Tics can be very distressing to a child, and some children with tics are made more unhappy by being teased.
  • If there is no underlying health problem, it is important to try to deal with any stress in the child’s life.
  • Relaxation exercises may help.
  • If the tic is very distressing for your child, and it does not go away after a few weeks, seek help from a health counsellor.
I’m going to add one more suggestion. Don’t make a big deal of it with the child. It often reinforces the behaviour rather than stopping it. It can make them feel helpless in the face of it and if it is stress-related, that will exacerbate the problem. The best piece of advice from the list above for me was about dealing with the stress. If our son’s blinking thing wasn’t allergy related, he was (at that time) quite prone to getting very stressed about things (the complete opposite to our Oldest Son) and so perhaps our work on removing his stressors and helping him with stress-management has been of benefit there.

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