Friday, April 29, 2005

Pick Your Battles

The first thing you need to learn with a TS kid is that you will NEVER have a day when everything is perfect. You have to learn to pick your battles. At our house we've decided to ignore tics, except when we all laugh together about a particularly goofy one. There are times when this can be quite difficult like when the tic is clearing his throat after every word spoken. You just want to yell: "Say it already!", but you don't. It's also no picnic to drive on a 5000 mile vacation with a kid whose current tic is constant foot tapping, especially when his foot is always under YOUR SEAT!

There are times when you'll feel like a heel. Like the numerous times we ragged on Z to learn how to tie his shoes. His 2nd grade teacher was so nasty about this issue that we finally told Z that he was grounded until he took the time to learn how to tie his shoes. My Dad even made him a board with a rope nailed to it to learn with. Well, he learned the basic mechanics of tying his shoes, but he still rarely did it. He opted to either wear his snow boots all day at school or he tucked his laces inside his shoes. We fought with him over this for 4 years. I finally decided that this was a "guy thing" because most of the teen boys I know permanently tie their shoes loosely so they can just slide into them. In addition, my husband is a great one for going downtown with his shoelaces dragging behind him. It wasn't until last year that I ran across an article that said lots of TS kids have problems with small motor skills, especially shoe tying. I felt like a heel! We parents have to learn when to apologize when we are wrong.

The battles we choose to fight involve behavior and attention span. As I said in an earlier post, we have learned to walk away from Z's "storms". That doesn't mean that we don't talk to him about them after he has cooled down. Although he is getting better about realizing that his storms are unreasonable, we still emphasize that he has to learn to control them in public or he will never be able to hold down a job.

We're experimenting with several different things to help Z when he has the attention span of a turnip. We're trying to get him to be as productive as possible on the days when he can concentrate. However, being an adolescent, he does just what he HAS to do to get by. This can be another tough area. How do you know when to attribute a behavior to TS rather than to just being a normal abnoxious kid? The only thing we can do is research TS and its symptoms and truly KNOW your child.


At 4/30/2005 8:16 PM, Blogger SME said...

I have the attention span of a turnip today, too. Hmmm. Must be genetic. Heehee. And OK, yes, I have tantrums too. Maybe PMS stands for "Per Month Storm"?

At 5/24/2008 12:35 AM, Blogger That girl said...

I found this post interesting... my son is in the midst of undergoing a Tourette's diagnosis.

It seems pretty devastating at first. He is only 8, and the ticks just started this year...excessive eye blinking.

Lately there's a new sound, a growl that accompanies the end of most sentences.

I too, am inclined to homeschool, but he hasn't gotten bugged at school too badly yet. Once it gets bad, I will have to look into it more seriously.


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