Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Bad Day

Yesterday wasn't exactly a homeschool success story. Z woke up with a sore neck. Naturally he had to get cranky and worry about underlying health risks. Some of this is due to TS, but I'm sure an equal part is due to being of the male persuasion.

The rest of the day Z overreacted to EVERYTHING! His attention span was nonexistent, which made him extremely frustrated with himself and everything around him. He became whiny and would frequently burst into tears. If we tried to help, he'd tell us to leave him alone. If we let him try to work it out himself, he'd accuse us of ignoring him. Our patience quickly exited out the nearest window. Thank God he wasn't in school yesterday! I KNOW he would have gotten into trouble and we'd wind up with the inevitable phone call from the school. "This CAN'T be due to Tourette's." "Maybe he could use another medication?" "What does his psychologist say about this?" Yo!! Educators; wake up!! Yes, this is a BIG part of TS! I even highlighted this section in the literature I gave each of you at the beginning of the year.

Yes, TS kids overreact to seemingly minor things. Tomorrow they may not. It all depends on how their brain is sending out chemicals that day. Fortunately Z is beginning to recognize this in himself as he matures. From an early age, we learned not to get in his face when he becomes unreasonable. When he was a toddler, I swear, we could have beat him to death and he still wouldn't have backed down. We quickly learned to ignore him, and withinn 5 minutes his squall would blow over and he would be the sweetest kid on earth. Now, when his squall blows over, he'll give us a hug and say "I guess I overreacted, huh?" This is BIG progress to us! We hope that by the time he grows up and ventures into the world on his own, that he will be able to recognize a storm coming and inhibit it somehow.

TS literature describes this behavior as "rages" or "storms". We prefer the storm term. Z has never broken anything or hurt anybody during his storms. We're lucky. I've read horror stories about TS kids that will break anything in sight and injure themselves or others. We pray that we'll never have to deal with rages, only storms.


At 4/28/2005 7:08 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

"Storm" has a much more positive connotation; "rage" implies something completely different to me. It's amazing how powerful a label can be, isn't it? Wouldn't it have been so different for many of us if our parents had called our temper tantrums "storms" instead? You would have associated it with something temporarty, fleeting, but still acknowledged the power behind it, whereas temper tantrum really has no metaphorical or symbolic connection to anything bigger than itself, and therefore takes on a life of its own. Interesting.

It has just dawned on me that you are SME's mom, by the way!

At 4/28/2005 2:10 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

You are very astute grasshopper! Yes, our female kid got me into blogging. She's one of our greatest success stories and we're so proud of the woman she's become!

Thanks much for your moral support!
My mission with this blog is to inform people about all the amazing TS kids out there who are falling through the cracks in our educational and medical systems.
You catch on fast; why can't "the powers that be" catch on?

At 4/28/2005 9:36 PM, Anonymous Trish said...

youre very lucky to have only one @ home going through these occasional "storms". Two female "storms" both close to the puberty age is more like a frickin hurricane doubled in size. We need to keep telling ourselves that eventually the "storm" will pass. Of course a good stiff drink or 10...might help temporarily. Best of luck to all of us and our "storms".

At 4/30/2005 3:17 AM, Blogger SME said...

OK, that's settled, now what should we call YOUR temper tantrums?

At 4/30/2005 8:40 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...


I really don't know why the powers that be can't catch on, and why so many children, with all kinds of issues, fall through the cracks.

I think one reason is pure laziness. A lot of it I also believe is politics and economics. For instance, when Ritalin came out, this was touted as cure-all for ADD, and it got a lot of media coverage and a lot of attention, which drove up prescriptions and thus sales. So, if a pharmaceutical company came up with a cure-all drug for TS, you'd probably see the same thing happen. It's the same with things like HRT, depression and certain breast cancer drugs.

But most probably people are afraid. They are afraid of the unknown, but they are also afraid of confronting their beliefs and possibly having to change them. It is much easier to believe that TS doesn't exist, that it's is easily medicated,or that your child is "special" and may need to be educated elsewhere, because quite probably if they were forced into believing something different then they'd have to believe something different about themselves. They would have to acknowledge their own judgements, ignorance, helplessness, and inabilitiy to comprehend. They may have to admit failure.

I don't know what your school system is like where you are. Up here in Ontario public schools, teachers are very overburdened with very large class sizes and few resources. There has been a lot in the news about kids with learning challenges, disabililties, behavioural problems and all sorts of other issues being given the short end of the stick because the teachers do not have the training, time, or help to teach them properly. Yet the government wishes to main stream many of these children into regular schools. It just won't work, in my opinon, unless you overhaul the system, and there isn't the political will to do this. My husband is a Montessori teacher at a private independent school, and it is a completely different approach, but even there sometimes (albeit rarely) the child cannot cope in the learning environment, and he or she winds up going into the public system, and God only knows what happens then.

Do you have any homeschooling groups where you are, by the way? There are lots here. I found out about them when I worked at a large bookstore, and they provided the children with that bit of socialization they would get in a school setting. I think there are even some associations of homeschoolers around.

Sorry this is so long...

At 4/30/2005 12:38 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Thanks Coyote!
You're right on all counts. Ignorance can be such a comfort zone for people.
The trouble with OUR school system is the way money is distributed. Every time we pass a school bond referendum, the teachers go out on strike for more money. I'm sorry, but I don't think that $50,000/yr plus fantastic benefits in our small school district for a 6 hr day, less than 9 months a year is bad pay. Especially when most people in our area make less than $30,000/yr with few benefits for working full time/ yr 'round! The kids in our district are using loose leaf mimeographed textbooks and running 20 yr old computers in computer lab!
Another problem is all the money that is funneled into sports here. God forbid that we add another Special Ed teacher at the expense of new boards every year in the hockey arena or that we don't send the 4th grade team on out-of-town basketball games EVERY weekend!
I don't expect classroom teachers to have to deal with all the different learning styles these kids need. That should be up to the Special Ed dept. They should be our kid's liason in the classroom, but they're not.
I looked up the Federal Special Ed handbook online and discovered that they hadn't tested my son for ANY of the things that are MANDATORY in the handbook.

I guess ultimately we're all to blame for letting these conditions slide. But after a while you get such a headache from banging your head against the system's brick walls!

At 4/30/2005 12:44 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Yes, we do have homeschooling groups here. Unfortunately most of them are rightwing Christian homeschoolers(not our cup of tea). There are very few middle school homeschoolers here, but maybe that will change.
Our son has several close friends that he's still in contact with. So far socialization hasn't been an issue. It beats the socialization he was getting in school(bullying)!


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