Autism, Stress and Tics

Updated on March 04, 2011
H.D. asks from Allen, TX
7 answers

Hi all,

I have a 7yo boy with Autism (is high functioning aside from some speech issues). Since Christmas break he has been bottling up his stress and it's manifesting itself in multiple tics at one time. He's always had one tic or another but never this bad. He is aware he does the tics and therefore, acting out at school and calling teachers names. I know this last part of the year is a little bit harder and he does express that but he knows how to do the work placed in front of him so we are confused on why he is bottling up stress and frustrations. We are at a loss of how to handle his tics and how to teach him to calm himself down. Does anyone have any suggestions?



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answers from Dallas on

can he take any natural anxiety supplements? One that I have used is L-theanine---they come in chewables too. They are non-habit forming and work in about 10 minutes.....I don't know but there are several different things to look into that may help reduce his anxiousness.???? Fish Oil can help also if he is not already taking that......I used the ratio of 180mg/per every 10 lbs of weight.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

No, but I'd just like to offer a hug. I have a student with autism this year, and he has many tics, one of which is coughing (the throat clearing kind). Since Christmas break, he, too has gotten worse. We are all at a loss, and his mom can't get him in to the neurologist until the end of April. We've counted and he's coughing upwards of 400 times a day. The poor kiddos vocal chords are just destroyed. The other students are so good at ignoring it (it is VERY loud, like jump out of your seat loud), and I feel so guilty because it is driving me up a wall. I know he can't help it, and my students are all so sympathetic, but it is taking it's toll on all of us. I wish I knew how to help him! Stimulation breaks don't help at all.

Again, I'm so sorry your son is experiencing this. I hope you find a solution soon, and I'd love any tips, too!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Hi H.!
Have you all tried a weighted vest? I have worked with some kids who really responded well to having that sensory need for pressure met. It is kind of like the way some people sleep under just a single sheet each night while others need a the sheet, a blanket, and a comforter. It isn't as much about temperature as it is about the sensory needs that the added weight takes care of. For some people it feels more secure and safe and helps them relax.
Good luck with the rest of his school year. It sounds like he has a wonderful support in you. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I just posted a similar message the other day about tics. Our son has ADHD and recently developed severe tics. We're meeting with his psychiatrist tomorrow to talk about what to do. I'll pass along any useful tips I receive. In our son's case, it's going to involve a medication change for the tics, but I'll share any other info. I receive.



answers from New York on

You could try teaching him to close his eyes and take 3 deep breaths or count back from 10 when he is feeling stressed. Maybe he can get a stress ball to keep in his pocket and squeeze when he feels stressed.



answers from Dallas on

Please have him tested for strep as it could be he has P.A.N.D.A.S. The biggest symptom of PANDAS is the 'sudden onset' like you can remember the date and time everything changed.

Also, have you found It's a wonderful site and forum for movement disorders. There is a great book for healthy approaches to tics and tourette's.

I hope cawritermom will check this out, too, and that Melissa might pass this info on to her student's parents.


answers from Chicago on

Sports would be my first choice, something like martial arts would be good in my opinion. I say that, (my son has Adhd and this is what we are looking into) because martial arts teaches the importance of self control and impulse control and how to get out your stress undercontrol. I think it would be REALLY GREAT if you could take lessons together so you can both do it together. I would like to think you have therepists working with you and your son and I am sure they would also have ideas to help.

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