Help from Parents Who Have Children with Tics and Repetitive Habits.

Updated on October 30, 2009
S.B. asks from Costa Mesa, CA
7 answers

I know there's got to be other parents out there who are dealing with or have dealt with children who have tics. My son is 4 1/2 years old. His most recent repetitive behavior is putting his chin down to his chest, moving his head from side to side (ear to ear) and shrugging his shoulders. Once he stops one set of behaviors he starts a new one. His last tic was a noise he made in his through when he ate. When I ask him why he's doing this latest tic he says because he's itchy and I've made sure he doesn't have any skin condition as I make sure he gets moisturized after bath each night with Aveeno and use a mild Johnson's baby soap that I've always used. He isn't a good eater either as some foods can make him gag and he seems to be very sensitive to textures in his mouth. He eats bazaar things like crayons and sand from the beach. I brought it up to his pediatrician and she tested him for nutritional issues and they all came back fine. Does anyone know where they do testing for this type of thing in South Orange County? He's a very bright little boy and goes to pre-school where he does well academically and socially so far. As might be expected, I notice that these tics get worse under stressful or excitable situations like when he's playing soccer or when there's a lot going on around him. I'm a single mom and this is really scaring me. I just want him to be okay and if something's wrong I want to get him the help he needs. Please Mommas! Help me out and give me all the info you can with this. Thanks in advance :-)

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,

It is hard to see our children not being like the others and you are right to be concerned. It can be an easy as removing something from his diet that is causing inflammation to an area of the brain or it may be that he will need a medication for some time. I would get him to a DAN doctor, and you can find lots of information about sensory issues and recommendations of where to go from

Disregard that these are autism websites. The information contained there is good for many different diagnosises. You'll want to check out the information on diet on the site as well.

For now, I would delay anymore vaccines until I knew what was going on with my son.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Oral facial myologist's work with habits. I am one and a nutritional therapist, I deal with facial habits and others which seem to be helped at the same time along with digestion and good nutrition. Do not make a big deal of it. Tell him ahead of time where he is going and what you will be doing. That way he has more control and is less stressed. Does he want to play soccer? He needs to be around mom. How many days is he in preschool? If possible spend that time with him.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My son was diagnosed with tics when he was five years old. I believe the tics started in preschool. I remember him doing repetitive motions with his hands. He would form a fist and rub his hands on his papers a number of times after writing or drawing. In elementary school, he had the neck tics that forced him to push his head back. He also had to erase a mistake four times on his papers. I informed his teacher of the tics. The teachers never had a problem with any of his tics. He developed a verbal tic of repeating excuse me a few times and sometimes a throat clearing sound. My son was diagnosed by his pediatrician in Los Alamitos and a neurologist in Long Beach. My son was never medicated for his tics. I noticed the tics became worse under stress or excitement. When my son was playing basketball or in church plays I noticed his tics, but my girlfriends said that was because I was looking for tics. I learned it was best to ignore the tics. In the beginning my son asked me why he had to repeat certain things and I told him he had a medical condition that forced him to repeat things. He explained his condition to children at school and they did not tease or question him. I told him that God had made him special. My son is 16 now and has outgrown his tics. He has not had tics for at least two years. when he was young he would go without tics for months and they would appear , but the worst were in the beginning and they became less obvious as he got older. I am a Christian, so I believe in prayer which truly gave me peace throughout the tics. Remember to always hug and encourage and you will get through this.


answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like what we have just gone through with our little guy who is almost 7. We went to a pediatric neurologist and our son was diagnosed with transient tic disorder. You can ask your pedi for a referral. Also ask for someone who knows about SPD, Sensory Processing Disorder. We are being sent to Susan Perrin for assessment and therapy. / My neuro says that she is one of the best in his opinion. Several friends have recommended her too. Diet can contribute to tics as well.


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S., sorry about the late response. I think you may be dealing with SPD or a sensory processing disorder. I am not a phasision but my son has an auditory processing disorder which is a sort of spin off of SPD. These signs are showing that he may have a hard time with over stimulation. Meaning that getting excited, overwhelmed, or even just weirded out by strange textures *displaying sensitivity to foods, feeling textures in his hands and feet such as carpet, and grass,) this also contributes to oral exploration of unusual textures like crayons, sand, and paperpaste. It's not so much the taste as it is the feeling he feels in his mouth. There are theraputic items you can buy that are safe alternatives to the objects you mensioned above. Fountain valley hospital has a dept dedicated to these special needs usually physical and occupational therapies are recommended and a great help. To see more about it you can go to, this was and still is an awesome resource for me and my son. I wish you and your baby the absolute best even if this is not what he is dealing with it is a great start. Please feel free to contact me if you need to talk, I know you don't know me but if I can help in any way, please don't hesitate to ask. Again the best of luck and blessings to you and your son.



answers from Los Angeles on

Try contacting Western Youth Services. I believe they work a lot with children who have these types of difficulties, and may be able to help you. If they can't (they only work with families with limited financial means), I imagine they can offer you referrals to someone who can. My understanding is they are an extremely reputable agency, with a great deal of experience both in diagnosing and treating these types of issues.

Don't give up. There is an explanation, and help is out there for you.



answers from Los Angeles on

He doesn't do these tics because he is itchy or because he has a nutritional disorder. This isn't his fault. You need to visit a child psychologist for a proper diagnosis. (Sounds like a form of Turretts to me or even OCD like.) Get a diagnosis and then you can get help for it. You are right to notice that when he stops one tic another one starts and that stress makes it worse -- thats the nature of this type of condition. Telling him not to do it often makes it worse. Now is the time to get a handle on it while the other kids are too young to notice -- it won't go away on its own, and kids will start to tease him by about 1st grade and its worse in the upper elementary grades. Consult your insurance to see which child psychologists take your insurance in your area -- sometimes that is difficult to find one that does. You'll want to have insurance for this because you are likely looking at weekly sessions once you have a diagnosis. Good luck -- nothing to freak out about.

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