I’m Tammy and I’m the new writer for this blog about being a special needs parent.
I have three children (whom I homeschool) and my oldest – 11 year-old son K-Oz – was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome when he was seven.
He first started exhibiting symptoms at the age of six. With TS, to receive a diagnosis, the patient must exhibit documented verbal and physical tics for a period of one year.
K-Oz started out by shaking his head – in a woodpecker-fashion. This head shake quickly turned into a full-body spasm of head shaking that would occur every couple of minutes. It was impossible for him to function.
He was complaining of constant headaches – from the head shaking – and he was also exhibiting verbal tics.
Most people when they hear “Tourette’s Syndrome” think of an aspect of TS known as coprolalia – uncontrollable shouting of obscenities. A small percentage of people with TS exhibit this. Most have other types of tics – but it’s the obscenity-shouting that gets all the attention in movies and television.
K-Oz exhibits an aspect of TS known as echolalia – where he will repeat things multiple times. It’s almost like a record (for those of you old enough to remember those!) that gets stuck and plays the same portion over and over and over again until it gets on the right track.
K-Oz will often repeat a word of phrase over and over – especially if it was at the end of a sentence that he or someone else has just said.
For example, I could say, “K-Oz, let’s get some french fries,” and then he might (under his breath) say several times “French fries, french fries, french fries, some french fries, fries, french fries.”
Yes, TS does have a lot of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder components. K-Oz has OCD that is considered comorbid with his TS, as well as ADHD. That is common. TS patients often have OCD, ADHD and other special needs. K-Oz also has sensory integration issues, which have gotten much better as he’s gotten older.
So that’s a little about my journey into being a special needs parent. I’ll be sharing more later.
I hope this blog becomes a place where parents of these precious children can find support and strength from each other’s journeys.
Have a joyful day!