Apr 20, 2008

Tics and trichotillomania

I feel bad that our kids think therapy and counseling are a normal part of life for everyone. They should be free from grown-up worries like therapy and counseling.

They seem to be aware of things, though. Mason has been doing a weird movement lately that started a week ago. I've been watching him and trying to figure it out. He pounds the back of his neck with his fist, just out of the blue. He says he is popping his back, but he's not. Today he said, "It's a tic, huh Mom?" I just nodded. It is tic number 2 for Mason. Hunter has too many to count. Why do the tics develop around age 7?

The definition of a tic: A repetitive movement that is difficult, if not impossible, to control. Tics can affect any group of muscles. The most common are facial tics, such as eye- blinking, nose-twitching, or grimacing. Tics that affect the muscles used to produce speech are known as vocal tics, and can range from grunts or whistles to the repetition of complete words or phrases. Complex motor tics involve multiple, sequenced movements, and can include behaviors such as twirling in place, tapping a certain number of times, or stooping to touch the ground. Tics are believed to arise in differences in or damage to the basal ganglia, a structure deep within the brain that controls automatic movements and that also affects impulsivity.
I don't want Mason to have to go through this, too.

Now about Hunter:

Hunter's hair is completely bald up front from his trichotillomania: compulsive hair pulling. (a disorder characterized by pulling out hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, etc.) We've been growing the back part of his hair out to cover up the front bare patches. It's not helping much. If anyone knows anything about this, email me. We've increased his Zoloft to help, but I haven't noticed anything yet. Maybe we will switch to Prozac. The photo above was taken when he first started hair pulling. The blue ink spot is from a pen that he would use to just rub that portion of his scalp. We try to distract him, redirect him, etc, but it is obsessive in nature and he cannot "help" himself. It is alot worse now.

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Ernie and Oscar learn they like different things-great for kids on the Spectrum!