Hard time

Some thoughts on Tourette’s

The explosive child is a great book to learn about tourettes. It’s so good that Our neurologist, who is nationally known for Tourettes, gave us a copy when Rethan was diagnosed. I have also taught special education for many years, working with many children with autism in the process who have similar needs to children with Tourette’s although their conditions are different.
Harsh discipline is not the way to deal with their behavioral issues. Reacting  two children with Tourette’s in a harsh or punitive manner  will result in escalating the situation.  These children need understanding , compassion and guidance. They need a calm  voice and  the escalating  tactics. Speaking with them calmly along with other methods can help them move from they’re feeling brain, the amygdala, being in charge to their thinking brain, prefrontal cortex, being in charge. Only when they have calmed down enough for the thinking brain to work will you be able to actually be heard by them. Sometimes they can be talked down. Sometimes they need quiet time. Sometimes they need a hug and reassurance. To the less-informed this may look like rewarding the child for bad behavior. But what’s going on below the surface is most likely not bad behavior but being overwhelmed in a situation.

I have also learned much from occupational therapy about sensory needs and avoidance. Giving a child a sensory diet that they need which supplies the types of sensory stimulus that their body craves can help avoid them being overwhelmed is easily. With time parents and others who work with the child can figure out what this child needs before the hard time is reached. But often in the beginning especially it is reactive. And again giving the child the sensory stimulation they need to help calm down may be seen as a reward by those who don’t understand.

What makes it more complex is that there are often many underlying conditions, especially, ocd, anxiety, depression, a black and white sense of right and wrong, memory issues, suicidal thoughts, automatic negative thoughts, ADHD, dyslexia and other learning issues as well as speech and language issues.

My Rethan has all of these and more that are not directly related to Tourette’s. It is difficult is not impossible at times to know if something is a tic, a compulsion, a sensory overload, an adrenaline dump or them being naughty.

From years of learning, teaching, experiencing it first hand and also helping to moderate a worldwide Tourettes group on Facebook I have learned that

most of the time

They are not giving you a hard time, they are HAVING a hard time

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