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facial tic
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facial tic

I have an 8 year old son. He began having a facial tick about a year ago. His father and I have been separated for about the same amount of time. His facial tic started with a sniffing and became a sniff-squint blink. He does not do this constantly but it seems to get worse when he is under stress. For example he was recently in a play and played the title role. Unfortunately it became very obvious during the play. He did  not have trouble saying his lines or singing but it was very pronounced during this time. When he first started having the tic I took him to our pediatrician who suggested a neurologist to rule out any neurological problem. We had him tested with an MRI Cat scan etc. blood etc. All the tests came back normal.
I am concerned because he has had this tic more than a year. I was hoping it would go away as do most transient tic disorders. So it seems this may be chronic motor tic disorder. My question is this: Are there behavioral psychologists or therapists who specialize in overcoming tics such as this? If tics are so common there must be a way to compensate or teach a child how to stop himself? I know this tic must be related to the stress he feels because of my separation but I have taken him to therapists who tell me he is well adjusted. I need to find out if there are therapists who specialize in (as I said) overcoming tics - teaching children to stop themselves. I know it is uncontrolled but every adult I know who has had them as a child has told me they forced themselves to stop. Please tell me if you know of any specialized therapists or how I would go about finding one. Thank you.
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No, there really is no accepted therapy to address motor or vocal tics. As you know, by definition tics are involunatry movements. While they can be exacerbated by stress, they are not actually caused by stress. You have done the reasonable things to investigate your son's condition. On a positive note, over time such tics do tend to wane. Now, there are some medicines that can be employed if the tic is a major interference with normal social functioning. Your neurologist can help you consider the options. But I would be irresponsible if I suggested to you that psychotherapy will help your son. Supportive therapy can be useful if the child feels stigmatized or ostracized by the tic and its impact in relationships or peer approval/acceptance, but the therapy would not be directed toward stopping the tic.
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Regarding facial tics. I have an 11 year old boy who is quite healthy and has been tested regarding his tic. He gets them under stress, especially in the beginning of each school year. He blinks his eyes. This will happen for about a week or two. BUT now we have taught him to deep breath when he notices or his teacher notices this behavior to enable him to relax. His teacher does it privately as to no further "stress" him regarding this. My pediatrician says tics are more common than people realize and they will grow out of them. My son started these tics at about 5 by blinking. It seemed to become a habit. Once he stopped at 5 years old, they did not resume for a few years, which was this past year (he is again 11). Right now, he has been "tic free" for the past 3 months. We now do yoga at home to stretch and relax. I did this for him and I find I love it, being a mom of two, working from home, with a spouse, and need to relax and just "breath". I know how frustrating this can be, as you worry about his condition. Give the breathing a try and let the teachers know NOT to point it out in front of everyone, as this is embarrassing and more stressful. I thought my son would never stop, but he did. I will light a candle and say a prayer for your family :) Cee
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Avatar_f_tn
A related discussion, tics in children was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
My 10 year old step son had been diagnosed with ADHD years ago and about three years ago we began noticing what i would consider tics which seem to come and go and vary in intensity.  He jerks his head or twitches-not sure which is more accurate, has shoulder shrugging type movements and mostly eye blinking.  His mother claims that the pediatrician said it was no big deal but as a step mother who loves this young man very much, i am very concerned.  My husband is very limited in what he can do or enforce with the childs mother.  Also, this very smart and observant young man just told me that he overheard his mom agree with the therapist that he be put on ADHD medication of some kind.  My husband and i are against it because he truely does not need it.  My questions are-how do i know what the origin of these tics are as the step mom with uncooperative childs mother and 2: do we have any rights to say NO we do not want him on ADHD meds and 3: would those drugs not excaserbate the tics?  Im very concerned, but basicly have no rights or sway as the step mother.  And the mother has already told my husband that if she can get the child labeled as having a bad enough problem she can get disability for him!!!!   Im outraged and feeling rather protective and need some feedback so thank you in advance!
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Avatar_f_tn
My 4yr old son got his 4yr shots this past Friday.  That same day after receiving his shots he started blinkng his eyes more than usual. At first I kept telling him to stop blinking his eyes so much because I thought it was  a habit he was beginning but then each day it seem like he was blinking his eyes more and I really don't think he knew he was doing it.  I'm really starting to wonder if this has to do with the shots he received because he wasn't blinking like this until after.  I have called his pediatrician and schedule an appt. The nurse seems to think its just allergies but I don't think so.  Has anyone else had this problem?  I'm really hating now that he got these shots.
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