My Son, Ian, has mild Tourette. It was more acute when he was about six years old. And it was a few physical ‘tics’ He would appear to be squirming his neck, as if his neck was itchy and he could scratch the itch with his hands. Or he will make ‘ngk’ ‘ngk’ noise with his throat. If not he would stretch his fingers incessantly.
We as parents were alien to this and it worried us. We have seen this more acutely displayed in other people. Thankfully there was the internet where we did some searching and found an excellent documentary on this strange symptom. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOdBQYiIKWc) and a follow-up documentary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx6EBw9YFv4).
We watch in awe that this kind of thing can happen and it is happening to our son! I watched the documentary for facts and understanding, my wife watched it with horror, angst, and with tears, as her baby child is somewhat ‘suffering’ from this physiological dysfunction!
Really, our son’s tick isn’t really that bad, it is very mild, but it can get mildly irritating, in a subtle manner. thankfully, my intervention seem to have an effect, I sat with him and told him that these are displays of Tourette syndrome. It is a perfect normal behavior. and he is not expected to behave any differently. I helped him listed out the few displays he had, which is about 4-5 different types. And I told him to bring to his attention that he has this and as much as his he aware of it, to correct them.
I know, I just contradicted myself, when one moment I told him it is Ok to behave this manner and the next moment I told him to self correct them when he is aware of it. I can’t help it, it was a new situation to me as well, and that was my best coping approach. Thankfully it was enough for him to become aware of it and he did to a certain degree try to self correct them. Now at 8, I can still see that there are some underlying ‘tics’ but it is much more subtle now.
It’s quite humbling because we all expect out kids to be perfect to grow up perfect, free from defects, but this can never be the case, there will be defects, just as they are mortals like us. We have to learn along the way to deal with it. As out kids’ defects bring to us a reality of life. I want to blog this down, even though the tourette my son displayed is very fleeting, it left a very deep impression on me. and now when i travel to work in an MRT, I would come across a chap with a very acute tic. Other commuters watched, I’m sure some in slight horror when this fella uttered ‘FUCK!’ or something that sounds like that. I tried to behave normally indifferently towards him so as to allow him to feel that acceptance. His presence is also a reminder that all of us in society has to accept that his behaviour is, involuntary and it is normal.