Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

I am so glad that 2011 is coming to an end. It wasn’t a very pleasant year for my family. My son and I have been on our own for about three years while my husband has been in another country trying to create some financial stability for our family. A failed business, my son’s medical bills, our own health, and ailing parents have really set us back financially. In three years we have seen my husband for only two months. It is not easy dealing with life’s challenges without your husband or your father. This has been really hard for my son. He doesn’t understand that his father is sacrificing too. He doesn’t understand why his father had to go to another country.  He doesn’t that his father does not have access to the same opportunities here in America.

This year was a personal challenge for myself due to some health issues that creeped up on me. A year ago I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. And then for about a year I started to have some unusual symptoms including dizziness and loss of memory. The loss of memory was getting pretty serious. My success in my career was mainly due to my memory and the creativity of the mind. Finally after going through some tests it was determined that I had hypothyroidism. Since starting the medication things have improved but not totally back to normal.

Who knows, perhaps I am back to normal. Perhaps this is just my stage in life. I am over 50 years old, going through menopause, have diabetes, am over weight, suffer from both anxiety and depression, and have a thyroid that isn’t working. Perhaps this is the new normal.

One of the other big challenges we have been dealing with is my son’s type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed a year and a half ago. A year ago he went on an insulin pump. Yet his blood glucose is still out of control. He is 13 years old and does not understand the seriousness of diabetes. I fight to get him to test his blood. I fight to get him to take his insulin. He is angry about the whole situation and I haven’t figured out a way to get this turned around. And now to top it all off I don’t know how I can keep paying for his diabetes supplies. We are struggling. We aren’t even able to live from paycheck to paycheck.

As some of you may know my son has several chronic health issues besides the diabetes. He also has epilepsy, non-epileptic seizures, Tourette Syndrome, an anxiety disorder, a little OCD, sensory processing issues, high functioning autism, and a little ADHD. That’s a lot to deal with. It all seems to be related. As you know many of these conditions overlap each other. The diagnosis is difficult, and the treatment is nearly impossible. Thus, this is where all of the medical bills come from.

Besides the diabetes, the other thing that was really beating us up was his Tourette Syndrome. He was having hours and hours of these violent physical tics and loud vocal tics. They were exhausting. Nothing seemed to help. We tried everything including medication, therapy, self-hypnosis and bio feedback. Nothing really worked. For most of this to work you have to really understand your tics and try methods to prevent them from happening. Unfortunately my son hasn’t quite figured that out.

Between all of the doctor appointments and nights with no sleep due to theses tics I was missing quite a bit of work and my son missed quite a bit of school. Lucky for me at work I had intermittent medical family leave time and was able to make up my time by working remotely. Usually my manager understood and then sometimes he didn’t. On the other hand my son’s school did not understand. They didn’t understand why he couldn’t attend school when he spent five hours or more in the night having full body jerks and vocal yells. They didn’t understand he needed to go to medical appointments. They didn’t understand that on top of his medical problems he is going to get normal illnesses such as the flu or a sore throat, or a cold, or a stomach ache. It got to the point they wanted a doctor’s note for every day he was having problems. Damm, I couldn’t afford to take him to the doctor every time he was sick or every time he had a bout of tics at night! They didn’t understand that there were no answers. The doctors had no cure. We have seen the best doctors in the country. On top of all this they didn’t understand that we needed to develop a plan that would educate my son with the restriction he has in life and teach him when he is able to learn.

So, this fall I took some time to evaluate the situation as it relates to my son’s education. As you may already know my son has some learning disabilities. He has been on an IEP since first grade. But in the last four years he has made no progress in math and very little progress in reading. He didn’t have the right accommodations in place, even though I would make suggestions, and I don’t think they were teaching him in his learning style. I don’t think they even knew what his learning style was. In fact I don’t think they cared if he was learning. I knew if I let things continue, my son would be graduating from high school and not be able to read.

I then realized I could do a much better job than the school. I was educated. I have a master’s degree. I know my son is quite smart and I just needed to take control and provide him with the education he deserves. So we made the decision to home school. And yes it isn’t easy. I work full-time. The key to it is to be very organized and planning ahead. I have my lesson plan for the whole year, with detailed daily plans that are a month ahead of us. My son follows a schedule while I am at work, and then in the evening we have class together. I am following a flipped classroom approach, where the detailed project work we do together. I take full advantage of information and applications that are available on the internet and educational television programs. I am taking a very practical approach to his education to ensure he learns what he needs to survive in life and to be a contributing citizen to his community. It is not easy, but we have already made tremendous progress since we started in October.

On top of all of this we have had a few more bumps in the road. Last summer we were rear-ended in our car. We both had whiplash and my son had a concussion. The car was totaled. Great, we have no money and I wondered how in the hell was I going to get a car. If I didn’t have a car there would be  no job. I commute about 35 miles away.  Between cashing in my 401K, which wasn’t much because I had already used most of it for all of the other emergencies, the insurance check, which wasn’t much because my car had 275,000 miles on it, and my gracious mother I was able to get a car. This was one less pressure off my mind.  THANK YOU MOM.

This year I have also been facing parents who are getting older and their health is becoming more and more challenging. My father was seriously sick for six months. He has been seeing many different specialist, all of them unsure of the diagnosis and each of them coming up with something different.  Most recently he saw a heart specialist and they have determined he has a blockage.  They will be dong surgery in the near future.  Most recently my mom is having a possible cancer scare. We will know more in the next month. She is a tough lady. She has survived breast cancer and uterine cancer.  The doctors are going to do a biopsy.  Hopefully it isn’t cancer.  We will see.

This year we also lost someone very dear to us. My husband’s brother died from cancer. He was in a country where he didn’t have access to medical treatment for cancer. He died within 9 months of being diagnosed. The end was bad. My husband was literally donating his blood daily to try to keep him alive. His wife went from hospital to hospital to try to buy blood. Medical care in third world countries is limited.  It was a terrible situation. But now he is at peace. We miss him dearly. He was kind and generous. More importantly he was greatly loved.

So we are almost to the end of 2011. The holidays are here, even though I don’t feel like being in the holiday spirit. I think to myself, let it be over. What could be worse than this year? I spoke too soon. My company informed me last week that my position was being discontinued and I was being laid off. What! Not now. My first thoughts were, I have to keep my son’s health insurance. I cried. Talk about sucker punching you when you are down.

I am telling you all of this because I have had a bad year and needed to get it off my chest. I am also telling you this because I am an example of one of those Americans that is struggling.  Looking back, my life has never been easy. BUT, I am also a survivor. I will get another job. I will take care of my son. Life will go on. I may not have my own home. My apartment may not be all decorated. I may not have a lot of clothes. I may not go on vacations. I may not be able to eat at restaurants. Sometimes I may not feel the best. I might even feel sorry for myself. But I am alive. I have a family that I love. And what else would I do. Give up? What would happen to my son if I did that? I have to be here for him. I have to make it. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do, and that it is how it is with me. Doing what I have to do.

Here to 2012! It is going to be a great year.

This is a follow-up to my blog post called Tourette Syndrome, in search for help . . .  Read on if you want to know what life is like when your child has Tourette Syndrome and you are desperate to find help.  In my previous post I described the doctors we had been working with and getting no positive results.  I also described this push by the school to get my son medicated.  I  talked about the medications we tried.  Finally I went on a search for a specialist that worked specifically with children that had Tourette Syndrome and who would look at the full picture of my son’s well-being.

As I said in the earlier post, I found a doctor pretty much by accident and we had to wait five months for our appointment.  Finally the appointment day arrived.  On the way to the appointment, my son was frustrated and didn’t want to go.  He was tired of doctors and he didn’t want to talk about his tics.  So we had a little fight as we drove to the doctor appointment.

Finally we arrive and get through the paperwork with the receptionist and then were escorted to a waiting room.  There were only two other people in the waiting room, a father and a son.  Soon, an elderly, short man entered the waiting room.  His hair was  gray and pulled back into a  pony tail.  Plus he had a gray, long beard.  A little like Dumbledore.   Immediately upon seeing him, I thought to myself, what an odd little character.  Suddenly he said my son’s name.  I was a little shocked.  This was our doctor.  This was Doctor D who was a specialist that we hoped would help us.  Definitely non-traditional.  Definitely not what we are used to in the stuffy world of neurologists.

Doctor D is the  Director of the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program and Clinical Director of the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Clinic. In addition he is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and has a joint appointment as Professor in the Department of Family Practice & Community Health. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and by the American Board of Medical Hypnosis.

I later found out that his research interests include exploration of cyberphysiologic (self-regulatory) abilities in children and adolescents with headaches, Tourette Syndrome, children with sleep disorders, and in the ability of children to learn and use self-hypnosis to alter and regulate physiologic functions.  His bio said:

As an advocate for children and youth who live in families in communities I have an abiding faith in children’s ability to develop and cultivate skills in self-regulation and participate actively in their care toward promoting and maintaining optimum health. I believe in children and their families, and listen carefully to what children say and how they say it to best understand how I can help them and their family to help themselves. Most children and teens (and their parents) are pleasantly surprised to discover that they can learn self-regulation methods that can help them often dramatically with a wide variety of problems, from managing every day stress, to reducing/eliminating pain, to coping with repetitive procedures, managing fears and other forms of anxiety, eliminating habits.

Dr D led us to his large office, which was full of soft chairs and couches arranged comfortable and it didn’t feel clinical.  There was also a table full of 70s and 80s toy memorabilia.  The discussion immediately started with jokes from the doctor.  In fact the joking never stopped throughout our appointment.  He spent the hour talking directly with my son, with an attempt to have my son describe what was going on and to get comfortable talking to him.  Occasionally, he would turn to me for clarification or for confirmation.  One of the rules he told my son was, in our future appointments there were two words that were not allowed.  The words were try and can’t.  He told my son instead we would be using the word do.  Basically ‘Just Do It’, which he claimed was his slogan and Nike didn’t pay him a dime for it.  More humor.    Throughout the appointment he would test my son during the conversation to see if he would use those words.  Interestingly, my son caught himself every time just before he would have used one of those words.  The doctor commented that my son caught on quickly.

The majority of the conversation was the doctor asking my son questions about what kind of tics he had.  I was surprised to learn that my son had a hard time describing them.  Initially he said his whole body felt tight and that it hurt.  The doctor asked him what other ‘kinds’ of tics did he have.  My son responded questionably, “There are different kinds of tics?”  With a little reminder he started remember some of the movement tics he had and the vocal tics he had.

Toward the end of the appointment the doctor told my son that he could guarantee that he could reduce the number of tics my son was having and the intensity of the tics.  I was a surprised when he said this.  I don’t think I have ever heard a doctor use the word guarantee.  The doctor also asked if my son was anxious taking his shots for his insulin.  We described that my son had a real hard time changing his inset for his pump which was administered with a needle into the body.  The doctor said he could teach my son so that he will not even feel the needles. I addition the doctor talked about my son’s inability to fall asleep without taking melatonin.  He said he could teach my son to fall asleep and would no longer need the melatonin.

The appointment concluded with a confirmation that our next appointment was in two weeks and that the doctor would be showing my son and myself a video to explain what he was going to do.  And that was it.  That was our appointment with this new doctor who appeared to be an expert at hypnotism and teaching children self-hypnosis.  I was excited.  He recognized that my son was dealing with a lot of medical issues and that there is anxiety and stress associated with having these medical problems.  As we left the appointment heading to the car my son, with a smile on his face, said, “He is a really good doctor.  I really like him.  He is a hippy.  Kind of like you.”  I laughed and couldn’t wait for our next appointment.  We were headed for a new adventure.

To Be Continued . . .

You may already know that I have a son who has several medical issues including Tourette Syndrome.  For the last four years we have sought some relief from the tics which have become more extreme over time.  Up to today we were working with our pediatrician, my son’s neurologist who takes care of his epilepsy, a clinic that uses non-traditional methods, and a neuropsychologist.

The neurologist hasn’t been convinced that all of the events my son has been having are tics.  There is some suspicion that they may be non epileptic seizures, or a combination of both tics and non epileptic seizures.  In pursuit of gaining some relief from these events,  he referred us to a neuropsychologist.  In addition he prescribed, at one time or another,  antihypertensive medications, which are medications whose original purpose is for treating high blood pressure.  The medications we tried included Clonidine (aka Catapres) and Tenex (aka Guanfacine).  Unfortunately the side effects can include sedation, dry mouth, fatigue, headaches and dizziness.  The sedation affect wiped out my son and we discontinued using them.

The non-traditional clinic we saw, which was a part of Children’s Hospital, worked with my son to learn bio feedback.  My son became really good at this.  Unfortunately it didn’t work well with his tics because he needed to do it before the tics started.  Once he is caught in a round of tics he can’t concentrate enough to do the bio feedback.  The key is to identify triggers and hopefully try the bio feedback when a trigger is recognized.  We still try to use this method today, not only for TS, but also when he has to take shots for his diabetes.  It is a great way to just calm down.

This non-traditional clinic also had a psychiatrist that specialized in vitamins, minerals and supplements.  At one time he recommended that my son take:

Omega 3 Fatty Acids
B-Complex
Probiotics
Multi vitamin
Vitamin D

We did this regime of supplements for about six months.  Initially I thought it was working.  We actually had two weeks where my son had no tics. We had not experienced this since the tics had started.  Unfortunately this happened just before another school year started.  Once school started the tics came back with full force.

We continued to work with the neuropsychologist.  She was focusing on:

    • Identifying triggers for tics
    • Identifying tools to use when having tics
    • Tools to prevent bouts of tics
    • Addressing his anxiety
    • Addressing his sensory food issues
It is now four years since the tics started and we really haven’t found any answers.  I believe my son has learned how to identify some of the triggers and tries to minimize their effect.  He has also started eating different foods, which is a huge accomplishment.  I think he would be able to deal with his tics better if he didn’t have to deal with other people and their reaction to the tics, especially in the school setting. School is stressful enough for him, but when he has peers making fun of him, or dealing with adults who are ignorant about Tourette Syndrome, it makes it even more stressful.  This last school year my son missed a lot of school.  The combination of his tics, diabetes and epilepsy was a lose, lose situation.  Due to all of these absences I went on a search for a new specialist for the Tourette Syndrome.  Meanwhile the neuropsychologist suggested that we try medications again and was recommending an anxiety medication, even though we tried this in the past with no positive effect.

Meanwhile the school is pressing me to identify something which would change the circumstances at school.  They acted like I had a miracle cure up my sleeve and refused to recognize they were the main reason his TS was worse.  So, against my judgement, I put my son on the anxiety medication.  It took me about a week to get a hold of my senses and I took him off again.  There was also a period of time where the school nurse was pushing me to get some type of medication that would take the edge off these long bouts of tics that my son had.  She kept sending me names of neurologists, none with any specific expertise, just names.  She acted as if we hadn’t already seen doctor after doctor.  I also have learned that you just don’t pick names out of a hat.  Finding the right doctor is not easy.  Once again, against my instinct, we went to a pediatrician and she prescribed Valium.  I came to my senses pretty quickly on this one and never used them.

As a note of explanation, I am not against these medications.  There are times and people where these medications are not only effective, but necessary.  In regard to my son, in the last nine years he has been on numerous medications for his epilepsy.  Scary medications.  From this experience, I learned that getting the right medication is pretty much a trial and error type of process.  My son was already on a medication for his epilepsy that is also used for anxiety.  It was a benzodiazepine, which works by decreasing abnormal electrical activity in the brain.  Since there were questions about what these events were, I just didn’t want to haphazardly add another anxiety medication on top of the medications he was already on.

It is so frustrating to have an educational system trying to push you toward a medical solution that may not be the best for your child.  I finally wrote a letter to the superintendent, principal, nurse and his teacher that we needed to find a different approach here.  Drugging my son was not the answer.  There are some things we need to accept.  The TS is here and we need to deal with it as it is.  I don’t have any miracles to make it go away.  In addition, it is a fact that with all of the health problems my son has he is going to miss school.  We needed to expect it and plan for it.  It was my intent to push them into a new approach in educating my son, perhaps even supplying a tutor to keep him on track with his class.  Guess what.  No one responded to my letter.  Finally at the end of the school year his teacher emailed and said she would set up a meeting before the end of the year.  I didn’t here from her again.  At that point I just wanted to get through the end of school.  I would deal with the school before school started again.

Earlier in the year I had started looking for a new doctor that may have some expertise and offer a different direction to deal with the tics.  I also wanted someone who would look at the whole picture.  A doctor  said to me when my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes that it seems to be all related and is probably an autoimmune problem.  Keep in mind my son was dealing with epilepsy, Tourette Syndrome, (possibly nonepileptic seizures), Diabetes, an anxiety disorder, a little OCD, a little Aspergers, a little ADD,  and learning disabilities.  That is quite a bit for a 12-year-old boy.  I am very proud of him for dealing with it all.  I am not so sure I could do the same.  Up to now each of these medical issues were being addressed independently.

Anyway, I went on a hunt.  Thank goodness for the internet.  I noticed that if we were located on the east coast there would be more of a selection of doctors.  Even though we were near a large city, Minneapolis – St. Paul, there still did not seem to be any experts.  So I just started calling hospitals and clinics and requested recommendations.  Initially they weren’t much help.  After reaching out to 30 or more medical centers I called the University of Minnesota Hospital, and they suggested a doctor.  After contacting his office, I found that he had a waiting list and it would be five months before we could see him.  That in itself meant something to me.  It was obvious that people were seeing him.  It was either because there just weren’t that many specialists or he was really good.  I decided we would wait and we would find out.

Finally the five months passed by and it was the day for our appointment.

To be continued . . .

This is a continuation of a post called  The onset of Tourette Syndrome and my son . . ..

In earlier posts or from tweets on Twitter you may have already surmised that my son has Tourette Syndrome and some of the comorbid conditions that can go with it, such as OCD and ADHD.  Below is a continuation of some basic information about Tourette Syndrome and a description of our experience with it.

Some tics are preceded by an urge or sensation in the affected muscle group. Some people with TS will describe a need to complete a tic in a certain way or a certain number of times in order to relieve the urge to tic  or to decrease the sensation.

Tics are often worse with excitement or anxiety and better during calm, focused activities. Certain physical experiences can trigger or worsen tics.  For example tight collars may trigger neck tics, or hearing another person sniff or throat-clear may trigger similar sounds. Tics do not go away during sleep but are often significantly diminished. 

Tics come and go over time, varying in type, frequency, location, and severity.  Motor tics generally precede the development of vocal tics and simple tics often precede complex tics.

Although the symptoms of TS are involuntary, some people can sometimes suppress their tics in an effort to minimize their impact on functioning. However, people with TS often report a substantial buildup in tension when suppressing their tics to the point where they feel that the tic must be expressed.

After my son returned to school it was obvious that the events were triggered by anxiety.  In school they were doing “rocket math”  which were sets of timed tests to see how many addition and subtraction problems they could get done in one minute.  The students each had a goal that they needed to accomplish, based on their specific writing speed, before they could go on to the next set.  While my son worked with the tutor  (which coincidently was his teacher) and I was observing, I noticed that just bringing out the green paper, which was used for these rocket math tests, would trigger a round of complex tics.  I also noticed that his teacher exuded anxiety with her voice and how she interacted with my son.  I could then see why he was having so much anxiety at school.

To help my son deal with his anxiety we worked with a specialist to identify coping skills that he could use.  We also met with an integrated health doctor who was an expert of using vitamin and mineral supplements to treat Tourette Syndrome.  In addition the integrated health clinic taught him biofeedback techniques.  To be honest some of these things worked for a while, and eventually were not effective.  The best techniques we found was distraction or music.  When my son was going through a round of complex tics I could hand him a full glass of water and the tics subsided.  It is as if the brain knew it had to carefully hold the glass of water to avoid spilling the water.  For a brief time it would stop the tics.  Overtime we also found that change of venue and music were the best items to use to reduce the duration of the complex tics.  My son carries his iPod with him every day in case he needs it.  Typically he has to use the iPod every day because his tics happened everyday.

In certain circumstances, such as public places, my son tries to suppress his tics, which is really hard to do and sometimes he is not successful of suppressing them.  He also tells me that if he suppresses the tics eventually they have to happen, and when they do the intensity of them is increased. 

Although the cause of TS is unknown, current research points to abnormalities in certain brain regions (including the basal ganglia, frontal lobes, and cortex), the circuits that interconnect these regions, and the neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) responsible for communication among nerve cells.  The genes associated with Tourette Syndrome have not been identified and there is no potential cure at this time.

Many with TS experience additional neurobehavioral problems including inattention; hyperactivity and impulsivity (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder—ADHD) and related problems with reading, writing, and arithmetic; and obsessive-compulsive symptoms such as intrusive thoughts/worries and repetitive behaviors.  In addition, people with TS have also reported problems with depression or anxiety disorders. 

There is no cure for Tourette’s and no medication that works universally for all individuals without significant adverse effects.  The management of the symptoms of Tourette’s may include pharmacological, behavioral and psychological therapies. While pharmacological intervention is reserved for more severe symptoms, other treatments (such as supportive psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy may help to avoid depression and social isolation, and to improve family support. Educating a patient, family, and surrounding community (such as friends, school, and church) is a key treatment strategy, and may be all that is required in mild cases.

 A study of 46 subjects at 19 years of age found that the symptoms of 80% had minimum to mild impact on their overall functioning, and that the other 20% experienced at least a moderate impact on their overall functioning.[1] The rare minority of severe cases can inhibit or prevent individuals from holding a job or having a fulfilling social life. In a follow-up study of thirty-one adults with Tourette’s, all patients completed high school, 52% finished at least two years of college, and 71% were full-time employed or were pursuing higher education.

My son is now in the sixth grade.  There has not been a day that he has not had tics.  Sometimes they are simply and sometimes more complex.  Over a period of time they change slightly.  He still has erratic body jerks and occasionally will include the loud vocalizations.  About a two years ago we tried clonidine (also known ass catapres, which is a blood pressure medication), which had no affect on the tics, but did have side effects, such as lethargy.  We ceased used it after about six months. 

Recently, a new tic appeared where he either slaps himself in the face or punches himself.  The situation is dire.  My son has continued working with a neuropsychologist on coping skills and reduction of anxiety.  We really have not had much success with this.  The concept of doing things to prevent the tics from starting has not really been understood by my son.  He is always looking for a solution to use as the tics are happening.  Perhaps as he gets older the preventive tools may make more sense.

Dealing with the medical community is very frustrating.  For many centuries TS was considered to be a psychogenic disorder.  Now with more information, there is recognition of it being a neurological disorder.  Yet there is still a belief that behavioral therapy can improve the situation.  I find this concept idiotic.  If you have spent some time with a person who has Tourette Syndrome,  you would understand it is not behavioral and truly is involuntary.  I guess the behavioral approach is to address the triggers that may cause tics to occur.  Our neurologist, who is an excellent epilepsy doctor, has no expertise with TS, or at least does not feel comfortable treating it. Our psychotherapist has suggested that we work with someone to try some of the other medications that are available.  So we are in the process of finding a specialist to work with my son.  So far, no luck. 

School has been a complete nightmare since this all started.  Over the last three years he has increasing fallen further and further behind in school.  The nature of his learning disabilities have become more apparent.  I have also noticed that the type of teacher also has a huge impact. 

I have had numerous discussion with teachers or the principal or the nurse, about the events being involuntary and not purposeful.  They repeatedly kept saying, it appears he does this whenever there is work to be done.  I told them perhaps the anxiety of the work was triggering them, and I pointed out the events do not always happen during school or while he is working on school assignments.  They also happen on the playground.   They happened while he plays video games.  They have happened right before falling asleep.  The principal of the grade school and I got into many, many heated discussion. I just wouldn’t give up.

In fourth grade he was assigned to a special education teacher.  that lasted half a year, and she kind of threw up her hands, and complained that he could not follow directions or could not identify, by looking at the other kids in the room, what he should be doing.  Now, she is a special education teacher!  If anyone should know how to deal with this it should be her.  In  fifth grade they assigned my son to an individual, who originally was classified as a social worker, and suspiciously became his fulltime teacher for math, reading and language.  This relationship went from good to terrible.  Some of the things she did was unforgivable.  She would punish him for having tics.  She complained he was not getting his work done.  She demanded that he continue working while he was having tics.  She would not give him privacy when he was have complex and never-ending events.  She was quite a  *itch (I apologize for the language, but if there ever was a time to use that word, this is the time).   By the time we hit fifth grade I begged my son to hang in there, because after that year we would be in a new school with different people, which should change the situation.  At one point I did not think we were going to get through fifth grade.

 

Someone must have been looking out for us, because this year in sixth grade, the situation is completely different.  My son’s teacher has worked with kids with Tourette Syndrome before.  The school in general is trying to accommodate him at the same time that he is getting educated.  He is in a class with kids with learning disabilities, and I think from a progress level he is ahead of most, if not all of the students.  As a result of this, his self-image has improved.  The biggest change is that the staff has empathy for the situation.  My son now LOVES school, loves his teacher and is making tremendous progress.   Next week is our IEP meeting.  We will see how it goes.

 

 

* The majority of the facts in this blog were gathered from a variety of sources including the Tourette Syndrome Association

.[1]Leckman JF, Bloch MH, King RA, Scahill L. “Phenomenology of tics and natural history of tic disorders”. Adv Neurol. 2006;99:1–16. PMID 16536348

Related Posts:

The onset of Tourette Syndrome and my son

As a small child I always dreamed of being “somebody,” but at that time it was just a mere dream.  Now I realize that being “somebody” can become a reality in one’s life if one is determined and disciplined.  This determination is very strong with me and through the years I have developed a discipline which is necessary for achieving this childhood dream.  I decided that if I want to truly be “somebody,” then I must first improve myself so that I may be worthy of the honor.

The key to my plan of action for self-improvement is awareness.  I believe that awareness of the world, of other people, and especially of myself with make me a better person.  With awareness comes growth, and with growth comes the understanding.  Understanding the ways of the world, its people and myself will then truly make me “somebody.”

For some time now I have been making a conscious effort to look at the world I live in.    Since then, I have seen the babes of spring,  and have touched the sharpness of winter.  I have also heard the warm days of summer and have tasted the ripened fruits of the fall.  Seeing which way the wind blows and how the grasses grow has told me about life.  With this knowledge, I feel that I have become a better person because I know that I have grown . . . grown in awareness . . . grown in understanding.

In the past few years I have also taken the time to learn about the people of the world.  By observation and conversation I have learned that the people are very much alike and at the same time are very different.  Whether you are an American, or a Nigerian, or of any other nationality, you still basically are an emotional human being who is trying to happily survive in this world.  Yet despite this mutual existence, each of us is very different from one another, because of our individualism.  Different experiences, teachings and emotions have formed us into individuals.  The realization of the equality and the inequality of the people of the world has once again taught me much about life.  Hopefully this new understanding of the people around me will make me a better person for myself and also for the world I live in.

Final phase of self-improvement involves awareness of myself.  I now see that the more that I learn about myself the more I like myself.  And the more I like myself, the easier it is for me to deal with this world.  Through this inner search I have found what makes me happy and what makes me sad.  I have learned why the tears fall and why the frown turns into a smile.  From these things I now know what I want out of life and how I would like to be in that life. 

As I’ve tried to explain, I have observed nature and learned about people from many cultures, including a few individuals in my own back yard.  More importantly, I have met myself.  All of these things have come to me through disciplined awareness, my key to self-improvement.  What makes this realization so exciting is that it is an endless task to perform, because there are countless things and people in the world to see and to understand.  For now, due to this awareness, and this self-awareness, I can truly declare that I know who I am.  And believe me, that’s truly “somebody.”