Hi I'm Jamie. I have a son with Tourettes. AMA

Jamie Boatman
Jul 10, 2017

The joys and heartaches of raising a son with Tourettes. We've been through a lot and learned a lot.

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How is everyone tonight?

Jul 10, 10:50PM EDT0

Did your son suffer from simple tics or were they complex tics?

Jul 10, 3:00PM EDT0

He actually suffered with both simple and complex. He didn't just twitch. He had complex vocal tics.

Jul 10, 9:32PM EDT0
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Was there any stimulant or any reason which aggravated his tics?

Jul 10, 11:59AM EDT0

Stimulants didn't aggravate his tics. They were aggravated by stress and everything caused him stress when he was younger.

Jul 10, 9:31PM EDT0
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How many years has it been since your son was diagnosed with Tourette?

Jul 10, 11:25AM EDT53

It's been 9 years since he was diagnosed.

Jul 10, 9:30PM EDT29
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When did your son start showing symptoms of Tourette Syndrome?

Jul 10, 2:59AM EDT0

He started showing symptoms as a toddler. At about three he would thrash so much at night that him and his mattress would wind up on the floor.

Jul 10, 9:29PM EDT0
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What were the good experiences raising him when he suffered from this disorder?

Jul 9, 11:27PM EDT25

The good experiences have been learning how to make friends, being able to be out in public without an anxiety attack. Watching him make good decisions for himself among others.

Jul 10, 9:28PM EDT61

That's wonderful! I wish your son luck in everything!

Jul 11, 1:11AM EDT41

Does anyone in your extended family on both sides have Tourette Syndrome?

Jul 8, 6:07PM EDT0

The only other person in the family that has Tourettes is my husband. Nobody in my family does and we don't know about his extended family.

Jul 8, 9:28PM EDT0

Do all who suffer from Tourette Disorder require medical treatment?

Jul 8, 9:20AM EDT0

Simple answer No. Tourettes varies in severity from person to person. Just like anything else. 

Jul 8, 9:27PM EDT0
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Do medicines help control the intensity or frequency of tics?

Jul 8, 7:03AM EDT21

I'm sure there are meds that help with that. I chose not to use meds to suppress his tics. I only used meds to help with the anger.

Jul 8, 9:26PM EDT52
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Was there any change in the pattern or intensity of his symptoms as he grew up?

Jul 8, 6:32AM EDT43

As he got older and started understanding more of what was going on things got better. That's because he didn't feel pressured to try and fit in anymore. Kids with Tourettes want to be like all the other kids and don't understand why they aren't. That's a lot of stress, it would be on anyone.

Jul 8, 9:25PM EDT76

I'm sure your boy does manage great!

Jul 11, 1:40AM EDT46

Was your child able to suppress or control his tics?

Jul 8, 3:59AM EDT0

He was able to suppress them for a couple hours at a time when he was younger. Now he feels no need to suppress them because all the people he's around understand.

Jul 8, 9:23PM EDT0

What advice would you offer to parents whose children suffer from Tourette Syndrome?

Jul 8, 2:18AM EDT9

My advice to parents would be keep a good journal of things that happen day to day. See what triggers worse episodes and try to find a different way to approach that task. Reward good behavior Everytime even if it's with something simple. Don't lose your temper. It's not your fault. It's out of everyone's control, even the child's.

Jul 8, 9:22PM EDT61

Thanks a lot!

Jul 11, 2:04AM EDT58

Did your son have a hard time making friends and living a normal life?

Jul 7, 9:49PM EDT33

He had a really hard time making and keeping friends when he was young. Now he does ok. He knows enough about how his Tourettes affects him that he can explain it to people when something comes up. He is able to live a normal life. He just turned 18 this year.

Jul 8, 9:19PM EDT41

That's fantastic! Congrats!

Jul 11, 2:04AM EDT18

What causes tics to worsen and increase in frequency or go on for longer?

Jul 7, 9:29PM EDT33

Stress causes them to get worse. The problem is you never know what is going to cause stress. That can change from day to day. Frustration contributes a lot. 

Jul 8, 9:17PM EDT49
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What was your motto while raising your son suffering from TS?

Jul 7, 5:44PM EDT45

Have patience. That was my motto. He didn't have control over what he did most of the time. I had to have a ton of patience and I had to learn when he did have control and when he didn't. That wasn't always easy. 

Jul 8, 9:16PM EDT28

Anyway, it's allright now! Great that both you and your son find a way to deal with this problem. All the best!

Jul 11, 1:59AM EDT27

What did you do on early about your child’s Tourette Syndrome?

Jul 7, 11:22AM EDT19

We dealt with things the best we could. Usually it was distraction from whatever was frustrating him. Later it was ignoring bad behaviors and rewarding good ones. Lots of counseling, not just for him but for me as well. 

Jul 8, 9:14PM EDT39
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Is Tourette Syndrome totally curable with medical intervention?

Jul 7, 10:16AM EDT0

Tourettes is not curable! Medication only treats the syptoms. Even then it's a process to find the right med or combination of meds to help effectively. 

Jul 8, 9:12PM EDT0
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What challenges did you face raising your child who have Tourette Syndrome?

Jul 7, 8:47AM EDT0

Parenting in general was a challenge. There were times I just didn't know how to handle him. School was a challenge. The schools I had him in got to a point that they would call me and tell me to come get him because they couldn't handle him. Everything was a challenge. We didn't know from one day to the next what would happen.

Jul 8, 9:10PM EDT0
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What has been your learning curve with your child and coping this problem?

Jul 7, 2:06AM EDT0

I'm not exactly sure. I know I tried everything that was suggested I try. It was a process of trial and error for sure. All in all I think it took at least 2 years to find the right parenting style and techniques to best help him. 

Jul 7, 2:21AM EDT0

What did you do on a personal basis to help your child overcome Tourette Syndrome?

Jul 6, 7:59PM EDT28

On a personal basis I had to become the parent that he needed. That entailed​ trying multiple parenting methods and talking to counselors trying to figure out what worked and what didn't. We discovered through trial and error that we had to completely ignore the bad or disruptive behaviors unless he was becoming a danger to himself or others and reward good behavior every time. I had to learn to have way more patience than what I did. It wasn't easy but I did it and actually started babysitting other kids that had special needs.

Last edited @ Jul 7, 2:23AM EDT.
Jul 6, 8:50PM EDT55
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