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Tics, Anyone?

Posted Sep 30 2010 8:10pm

Just in case you think this is turning into a book blog (not that that’s a bad thing!), I thought I would post an update of what’s been going on with us lately.

After a disastrous first week of school, it seemed like Michael was settling in fairly well. Then he started humming .. yes, humming, as in theme songs from the Power Rangers or whatever else he was thinking about at the time. The substitute teacher (his teacher had a baby and is out for four months) was a bit disconcerted by this and said that some of the other students seemed to be bothered by it as well.

I should clarify, he has been doing this for a while in general, but we just tune it out most of the time. Luckily, the class seems to have adapted to it over the last couple of weeks as well, since nothing they have tried has been helpful in getting it to stop.

We had a visit already scheduled with the NP at the psychiatrist’s office, so I brought this up with her. She said that, in her opinion, it would be classified as a tic. This had been mentioned by the school OT last spring when he was making a Hmm! noise for a few weeks, but I hadn’t really looked into it any further once that stopped.

Basically, what I have been told so far is that a tic is involuntary and cannot be controlled for any significant length of time, that there aren’t any drugs which reliably suppress them, that they tend to lessen when the person is relaxed or engaged in something and that they tend to be worse when there is a lot of stress or when attention is drawn to them.

In light of this, the school team has decided to basically ignore the humming as a behavior. They will offer alternative calming options such as a chewy pencil topper or the noise-canceling headphone he already has available to him.

I have to say that this has been one of the best experiences I have had so far in working with the team. We have a meeting coming up to discuss a few items, and I am just hoping that things continue to go as well as they have the last couple of weeks.

If anyone has any good advice or resources on tics, I would love for you to share it.

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