Jan 092012

I never knew this until recently, but  tics are pretty common in children with sensory processing disorder.

How’d I find this out? Well, during the last two weeks of the summer MeMe underwent a sudden setback (nicer word than “regression”) and suddenly I realized that he was constantly twitching his nose. At first I thought he was doing it purposely to kind of push his glasses up. He had just started wearing glasses two months before and they had loosened and were constantly sliding down. I took him to get his glasses tightened and readjusted to fit him perfectly but he kept up the nose twitching. So I asked him about it, why he does it, and he tells me he doesn’t even feel himself doing it! It didn’t bother me much because I know there are worse tics and this one didn’t look so bad but I did some research and found out that many times when a tic disappears, it’s replaced by another. That made me kind of nervous but since there was nothing I could do about it, I decided to just drop the whole issue, try to forget it, and see what happens next.

It’s a few months later now and the nose twitching has vanished. I’m nervously anticipating some other kind of tic appearing, but again, I’m pushing those thoughts away. I don’t dwell on things I can’t do anything about.

Just to keep myself informed though, I researched the different kinds of tics and some of them are quite surprising! There are simple tics and more complex ones, and they are either motor-related or vocal.

Here are  some simple ones:

Vocal tics: throat clearing, barking, sniffing, belching, coughing, hiccuping, yelling, coughing, making unusual sounds such as hissing, clicking teeth, animal sounds

Motor tics: blinking, kicking, arms flailing, head jerking, shoulder shrugging, tongue thrusting, jerking any part of the body, banging on a table, nose twitching

And here are some of the complex ones:

Vocal tics: repeating words or sentences, changing the pronunciation of words or tones of voice over and over, talking to oneself, cursing

Motor tics: flapping arms, grimacing, kissing, poking or pinching, shaking feet, jumping, adjusting clothing, gesturing with hands

This list is incomplete because even the experts can’t be sure what is truly a tic and what isn’t. What may be for one person may not be for another.

So… does your SPD child have tics? Share your experience and spread your knowledge!



 Posted by at 10:52 am  Tagged with:

  11 Responses to “Sensory Processing Disorder and Tics”

  1. My 5 year old DD with sensory processing issues has developed tics within the last few months which is totally freaking me out. I’m going to be trying nature’s calm multi-vitamin. Will see how it goes…

    • Hi Happymom! Welcome to Sensory and More!

      Thank you for your comment. Please come back and share with us the Nature’s Calm multi’s effect on your daughter. I’ve heard wonderful things about that specific vitamin complex. And good luck!

  2. My 5-year-old son was identified as having SPD when he was two and was just diagnosed with Tourette’s and ADHD earlier this month. It’s interesting to hear about other people experiencing the same thing. I’ve never heard about the vitamin…what does it do?

    • Hi Migizi! Welcome to Sensory and More! Thanks for your comment.

      You must have a lot of strength! The multivitamin is a very high quality complete multi for kids, it even has fish oil and other things regular multivitamins don’t have. It has extra magnesium which is supposed to be very calming. See my post about Nature’s Calm: http://sensoryandmore.com/2011/12/25/magnesium-calm/
      I’ve heard good reports about this multi from parents of SPD children. I myself have never tried it though.

  3. My son was diagnosed with tourettes at 9 yrs old – but the truth is he has SPD too, and his neurologist would do nothing much but diagnose tourettes. I have SPD too, and have been researching so much these days – I just accepted my diagnosis in May. I recently commented how I thought that ADHD, Tourettes, and SPD seem awfully intertwined. I have ADHD as well. My sons ticks change fairly often – 1 at time – but sometimes none at all. I believe that he exhibits all of PANDAS symptoms – He had strep in March – after a 3 month period of ticking the worst ever – and magically – with in a few days of antibiotics – the tics stopped, for a good while. Its July 23rd now – and he is starting to tic again – not too bad yet. Hiccups are what brought me here – my sons and I get them one day after each other. Wish I knew why!

    • Welcome to Sensory and More, Stacey!
      Perhaps is time for another strep test if the tic is starting up again? It is true that SPD, ADHD, and Tourette’s overlap a lot.

      Rereading this post that I wrote up last summer, it’s fun to compare where we are one year later. I found out that my son did have another tic- a vocal one- where he makes constant noises: singing, banging, stomping, all kinds of mouth noises too. It all disappeared when we did the Have a Ball Learning program. This summer as well my son is having a regression, coincidentally, a few weeks after we stopped the exercises we should have been doing from the HABL program but now that we’re back on it, I realized that the tics have once again disappeared. Hopefully his compulsiveness and klutziness will fix itself back up again as well.

  4. My now 9.5 yr. old DD has SPD. She has exhibited tics since toddlerhood (shoulder shrugging, eye blinking, throat clearing, eye rolling) plus obsessive behavior including finger and toe nail biting. Her SPD was not yet diagnosed and our family was really struggling until we were introduced to HANDLE therapy. We do it, at home, 6 days a week. Within the first week we saw a huge, positive shift. By the end if the first month, her current tic was gone & we haven’t seen any since. She continues nail biting (but so does her dad). If we take a break from HANDLE, we suffer the behavioural consequences and it isn’t pretty. I’m eternally grateful that the found HANDLE and that, despite boy expense and intense and prolonged effort to do it, it is worth everything and more. In fact, when I told my then 7yr. D that I’d spoken with someone who understood what it felt like to be in her (my DD’s) body, my DD cried and begged to meet the therapist. Now, even though she gets tired of the daily exercises, she will say things like, “Things are so much better when we do my HANDLE”, if we have take a break (usually sue to illness).

    Best of luck.

    • Hi Natalia, Welcome to Sensory and More!
      Thank you for the tip on the HANDLE program, I’ll check into it and report back what I find.
      Hope you continue to see lots of future success!

  5. My 8 year old son was diagnosed with sensory integration dysfunction at age 4. I guess he’s exhibited tics over the years but they’ve been more pronounced in the last couple years. Throat clearing, blinking ( so bad I had his vision checked twice!), shrugging, and lately sticking out his tounge (which looked very disturbing with the face he made). I’m interested that these go hand in hand. Not sure what next step I should take- an evaluation of some sort? Just glad to see others working through the same things! Our children are precious. 🙂

    • HI Bethany,
      Welcome to Sensory and More! You’re right, our children are precious! It amazes me to read the comments above and see what other people have tried and had success with. Let us know what you come up with and how it works out. I know the trial and error can be both frustrating and suspenseful. Good luck!

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