The Boy And His Tics

School is still going great for Little Man (knock on wood!), but I’m worried about him. (I know what you’re thinking — not you!) I don’t know if it’s a nervous tic or what, but he has been picking the skin around his nails until they bleed. The skin picking has been going on for a while now, but has gotten worse. I thought maybe it was anxiety due to starting middle school, but he says he isn’t anxious about school at all. I’m worried he’s going to get an infection if he doesn’t stop. On top of that, y’all know how kids can be. If they notice, he might start catching hell for it.

It has always been something over the years. For a while, he grunted or cleared his throat every few seconds. There has been hand twisting, knuckle cracking, eye blinking. Up until a couple weeks ago, he bit his nails or chewed the skin around his nails nonstop. I bought something from Target that helped stop that, but when he stops one thing, he starts something else. He also licks his lips and above his lips constantly, to the point of leaving red splotches. It used to be that putting aquaphor on it for a couple days would clear it up and he’d stop, but that isn’t helping as much now. As of yesterday, he is doing a thing where he opens his mouth really wide, closes it, and repeats.

My husband took him to get a haircut, and the barber picked up on the mouth and licking things. He discreetly asked my husband if he has Tourette’s. My husband said he didn’t think so, but wasn’t sure why he did that stuff.

We are going to take him to BG’s psychologist and have him evaluated again. LM recently asked us if we thought he was like BG, meaning could he be on the spectrum, too. I told him that he was evaluated for that several years ago and they said he just had ADHD with autistic like traits (but not enough for a diagnosis) then. I mentioned that he does much better socially these days, too. He talked for a while about how he is quiet and watches what the other kids do and then tries to copy their mannerisms and stuff to fit in. That’s what led us to make the appointment with BG’s psychologist. He go on really well with two boys from school last year, and those relationships seemed authentic and not just faking to fit in, but I figure it can’t hurt to have him tested again.

My husband took him for the initial appointment last Friday. That was just to talk to the doctor to see if he thought he should be retested. The doctor said that if the previous provider thought he had autistic traits, that he should have been reevaluated within three years to see what changed, if anything, to be sure. They emailed me the contract for testing services yesterday, and I sent it back, so we’re waiting for them to call to set up appointments for testing. If nothing, we can get to the bottom of what is causing the tics/compulsions/whatever they are.

I was looking around online to see if there are any medications for tics and saw that magnesium can be helpful for that, so I ordered a thing of gummies. If there is any underlying anxiety that he just isn’t aware of, then maybe that’ll calm him down a bit. (If nothing, I guess it’ll keep him regular.) Fingers crossed.

7 thoughts on “The Boy And His Tics

  1. This parenting, it’s sooo hard isn’t it??
    So my Ellie (who has ADHD) had things she did when she was in public school: compulsive lip licking until her lips were chapped and the skin was falling off.
    She also experienced tics when she started her current medication but hasn’t had that in years.
    It is just so hard to watch them go through these things.
    You aren’t alone. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m the same as LM – still. Sometimes I get a compulsive tic that really annoys me as I end up with a sore jaw, sore teeth, sore throat… whatever happens to be the “tic of the day”. I can’t wait until it becomes something else. Very annoying. But no real harm done as long as I’m careful not to make any weird noises while at work (which has happened).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have seen all these in kids in my house and around me. Some of it was stress, some of it was med-related. All of them grew out of it regardless.
    Sometimes, kids do well if they use physical sensory distractions.
    I personally pick at my cuticles just like LM. It’s anxiety for me. A reaction to stress. When it’s bad, I am Band-Aid dependent. Unfortunately it’s labeled as self-harm for OCD as well as anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder if restarting his ADHD meds is making it worse. I can relate because I pick around my nails too, but once it gets rough I can step back. He said he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it until they start bleeding. 🙁 I had to send him to school with eight band aids on last week, so hopefully that magnesium makes a different.

      Liked by 1 person

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