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Does My Child Have A Tic? Or Something Else?

Parents often seek an evaluation from their pediatrician, or neurologist prior to seeking specialized therapy like CBIT for a tic disorder. Its important for parents to consider other possible causes of their child’s behavior in addition to tic disorders. Some behaviors may be the result of simple habits, normal development, stress at school, or even a behavior associated with OCD.

If your child has sudden or frequent movements, vocalizations, or other unusual symptoms that seem to come and go, it could be a tic. However, it is important to consider that not all behaviors are tics. If your child’s symptoms have been present for more than three months, it is likely a tic disorder and should be evaluated by a specialist (such as a neurologist).

Common signs of tics include:

  • frequent or sudden head shaking or jerking movements
  • blinking rapidly
  • sniffing frequently
  • squinting eyes
  • mouth twitching
  • bouts of uncontrollable laughter
  • repeating certain words or phrases over again
  • clearing throat excessively
  • coughing repeatedly
  • shoulder shrugging

If your child displays any of these behaviors, seek an evaluation from your pediatrician or neurologist who will provide the proper diagnosis. If the diagnosis is determined to be Tourette Syndrome, or another tic disorder, specialized therapy like CBIT may be recommended in order to help manage symptoms.

Do children outgrow tics?

It is possible for children to outgrow tics, however there is no guarantee that this will happen. It is important to seek the proper evaluation and treatment in order to help your child manage their symptoms. With the right therapy (such as CBIT), many children have seen reduction or even elimination of their tic symptoms.

The Difference Between Tics and Tourettes

Although Tourette Syndrome is the most severe type of tic disorder, not all tics result in Tourettes. Tics are movements or vocalizations that fluctuate in frequency and severity, while Tourettes is a neurological disorder characterized by multiple motor and vocal tics lasting more than one year.

Transent Tic Disorder vs Tics

Transient Tic Disorder, or “tic bursts,” are short-term episodes of multiple motor and vocal tics that typically last less than one year. This condition is often confused with chronic tics as the symptoms may look similar at first glance. However, transient tics tend to be more severe, intense and frequent during active episodes, and typically last for a few weeks or even months. It is important to seek an evaluation from your pediatrician or neurologist if you suspect your child may have any type of tic disorder.

It is important to rule out any underlying medical conditions and consider other possibilities before seeking treatment for a tic disorder. If your child has been diagnosed with a tic disorder, speak with your doctor or specialist about the best course of action for managing their condition. By understanding the cause of the behavior and implementing appropriate treatment strategies, your child can learn how to live an active and productive life despite their diagnosis.

Remember that you are not alone in this journey—seek out support from family and friends, as well as guidance from healthcare professionals who specialize in treating these conditions so that you have all the resources necessary to support your child’s health and wellbeing. You know your child best—by advocating for them and working alongside their healthcare team, you can help ensure they receive the best possible care.

How We Help

At GroundWork Counseling we work closely with families to provide guidance and support for tic disorders. Our team of experienced clinicians provide evidence-based CBIT therapy, and can help you develop strategies, skills and coping mechanisms to help your child manage their condition. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you.

**Disclaimer: The content provided is intended as general educational information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have regarding your child’s health and wellbeing. **

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