Posts Tagged ‘Tourettes’

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 some basic information about Tourette Syndrome and a description of our experience with it.  It also includes a description of some behaviors that are happening in our society and my opinion about them..

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder that  is misunderstood and has been stigmatized.  The entertainment industry, whether it be television, radio or the internet, has been criticized for depicting those with Tourette Syndrome as social misfits whose only type of tic is coprolalia (a vocal tic consisting of swearing).  The coprolalic symptoms of Tourette’s are also used for humor.  To the public, this representation of TS has created an inaccurate perception about people with TS.

Take a moment, go to Twitter, and do a search on the word Tourette.  The majority of the results that you will see are despicable. Individuals are pretending to have TS or accusing others of having TS and use it for an opportunity to swear in their tweets.  There may also be  the references to “Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette’s.”  The other common tweet has to do with the Tourette’s Guy, who has a website and has posted videos.  Tourette’s Guys is a drunk, overweight man who claims he has Tourette Syndrome and spends his time video taping himself while he is philosophizing and swearing.  Some allege he really does have Tourette Syndrome, and some don’t.  Either way, I find him vulgar.  There was a time when I would send tweets to these tweeple and explain how bad the disorder is.  It is rather odd that a number of them responded by telling me off and then saying they had TS and could do what they wanted.  I find it very hard to believe that a person with TS would make these type of comments that are in these tweets.  I finally had to stop this confrontational tweeting because it just infuriated me, and put myself susceptible to a barrage of lewd comments from these tweeple.

Most recently, the lawyer of a woman,  formerly known as the Hiccup Girl, may be using TS as a defense tactic for murder.  The medical advisory board of the National Tourette Syndrome Association took issue with any defense based on the disorder.  We also recently had a politician, Prime Minister David Cameron making a jibe user a tourettes reference.

The other hot topic with people with TS is the bullying that may occur.  Bullying has recently become a hot topic in the U.S. due to some suicides that stemmed from bullying.  Bullying doesn’t just happen to the smallest kid in the class. Bullies target those who seem to be less powerful or not as strong. Bullies also often target children who seem “different”. Children with TS and other disabilities are, therefore, at significantly higher risk of being bullied. All students have the right to attend school free of fear of harassment and bullying.

TS is recognized as a disability in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Disability harassment is discrimination that violates section 504 and its regulations. Under Section 504 and Title II, disability harassment in schools is defined as, “intimidation or abusive behavior toward a student based on disability that creates a hostile environment by interfering with or denying a student’s participation in or receipt of benefits, services, or opportunities in the institution’s program. Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name-calling, as well as nonverbal behavior, such as graphic and written statements, or conduct that is physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating.”

Check out Jaylen’s Challenge website, which is a grass-roots effort of a young man name Jaylen who has Tourette Syndrome and has made it his goal to reduce bullying for disabled children.  Jaylen’s website, at http://www.jaylenschallenge.org/how-can-you-help,  provides the following suggestions for how you can help with this cause:

  • Donate as much as you can. Don’t forget, donations over $10 gets an exclusive ‘Bullying No Way!’ glow in the dark wristband.
  • Spread the word about this cause. I am trying to change the world, one classroom at a time.
  • Don’t bully people for ANY reason. When you bully someone, it is because you are insecure with yourself in some way.  If you can’t help yourself, talk to a parent, a teacher, or another adult about receiving help.
  • If you are a parent and you know your child “picks” on other kids, don’t laugh and think it’s merely “child’s play” or harmless. This is serious. Kids are losing their lives. Talk to your children, educate them. Let them watch my videos under the video links tab.
  • Take up for someone when you see bullying. Just as I’m trying to do in a sense, ‘Pay It Forward’.  Stick together. A bully will pick on an individual, but a bully will not bully 5 kids standing firm together.
  • If you are getting bullied, you HAVE to tell someone. I know you don’t want to tattle and make it worse, but tell someone. Tell me and I will try my best to do an ‘in-service’ to your school if we have the funds available. The bully will never know it had anything to do with you.
  • Come back to my website often. I am going to try to receive a strong rally of supporters in order to get help to children.

Jaylen is a very courageous young man and is a fighter for doing what is right. Take a moment and look at his website.  You will learn more about TS and directly see how an individual lives with TS.

I think the portrayal of TS in the media is shameful.  Having TS seems hopeless.  The medical community haven’t made much success at improving the lives of those that have TS.  For those like my son, each day is a struggle.  I can’t count the number of days my son has come home from school crying because of events that happened with his peers. Even more so, there have been numerous times when someone called him “retarded” because of his TS.  (Coincidently, Congress recently took action on the use of the word “retarded” and has removed its reference from all federal laws.)

Every time this happens it wounds my heart.  Every day, I wish I had the power to take away this disorder from my son.  I would rather carry that burden myself, than have him struggling day after day.  Unfortunately I do not have that power to do this.  Instead all I can do is help raise awareness about Tourette Syndrome and to continue looking for a cure.  I know I am only one person, but I am slowly growing a village, and who knows where this may take us.

Related Posts:

Related Posts:
Tourette Syndrome and my son
Tourette Syndrome, school and despair

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The national Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc. is excited to inform you that “Different is the New Normal,” a new film that demystifies the stigma of Tourette Syndrome, will air Sunday, November 6 at 6:00 pm on WTTW in Chicago. The film captures the courage and triumph of Ariel Small, a teen with TS, and features James Durbin of “American Idol” who inspired the film title.

 For those outside the Midwest viewing area, the one-hour documentary is available for the national audience for a limited time here.

Moving and Intimate Portrait –

Featuring James Durbin of American Idol, Who Inspired the Film Title –

Captures the Courage and Triumph of High School Senior Ariel Small

 CHICAGO, IL – October 27, 2011 – You cannot control the tests of life, but how you confront those challenges defines who you really are…. Ariel Small was born in suburban Chicago, the middle child in a close-knit family of five boys. When he was 6, Ariel’s parents became concerned when they noticed he was exhibiting odd facial movements that he couldn’t seem to control. Ariel was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, a neurobiological disorder affecting an estimated 200,000 people in the U.S. alone. Different is the New Normal, premiering in the Midwest on WTTW, Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. and on PBS nationally in May 2012, closely follows Ariel’s incredibly moving journey to overcome obstacles and bust the misconceptions surrounding Tourette’s. Along the way, a meeting with James Durbin, whose own embattled path led him from brutally bullied student living with Tourette’s to nationally-celebrated American Idol Finalist, helps reinforce Ariel’s own belief that anything is possible.

 One of the disabling aspects of Tourette’s is the tics that disrupt daily function, but Ariel found that another was the constant need to prove that his symptoms were real – and that he wasn’t faking them just to be disruptive. Different is the New Normal introduces viewers to an amazing 17-year-old who refuses to be defined by a disorder and instead chooses to validate, advocate and educate.

 The film is a presentation of Creative News Group in association with WNET New York Public Media, the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations and operator of NJTV.

 “I have made it my mission to educate the world about Tourette’s Syndrome and pave a path for all of the kids who struggle with Tourette’s on a daily basis,” said Ariel Small. “My hope is that Different is the New Normal will change the way people think and feel about those they perceive as different and encourage them to look past those differences and see how alike we really are.”

 “Different Is the New Normal captures the pain and frustration many parents and their children experience,” said Neal Shapiro, WNET’s President and CEO. “Ariel’s inspirational story provides an uplifting perspective to this often misunderstood disorder, and will inspire everyone who watches this film to think about people as individuals, not as labels.”

 Produced, directed and written by Emmy Award-winning NBC News veteran John Block and directed and edited by Chicago native Matt Wechsler, who also is the film’s cinematographer, Different is the New Normal is an acutely personal and ultimately uplifting first-hand account of Tourette’s through the eyes of Ariel Small. According to the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA), the only national non-profit membership organization in this field, Tourette’s is a neurobiological disorder characterized by involuntary and repetitive physical and vocal tics.

 At first, the Smalls shared the common preconceived notions of Tourette’s stereotypical symptoms such as compulsive outbursts of obscenities, but that behavior actually belongs to a rare form that affects only a small percentage of patients and Ariel exhibits none of these traits. With his permission, Robin Small turned the camera on Ariel to let viewers in on their family’s emotional journey to surmount the challenges of living with the disorder and break through the stigma and shame associated with Tourette’s.

 “WTTW is honored to be the first station in the Midwest to air this important film, which puts a human face on a condition about which there are many misconceptions,” said Dan Schmidt, President and CEO of WTTW.  “It is especially significant given that the Smalls are from the Chicago area, and we feel the telling of their story aligns with WTTW’s mission to educate and enlighten our audiences.”

 “We hope that this documentary changes people’s perceptions of Tourette’s Syndrome and will inspire children who are struggling with it,” said Robin Small, Ariel’s mother. “It is extremely important to separate the person from the disorder.  We are all different and it is these differences that make us unique.  Understanding and empathy are qualities of a successful perspective that will help individuals succeed in life.”

 To help safeguard other children from the hardships he has faced since he was young, Ariel’s laudable mission is to speak out in order to demystify Tourette’s. As an Illinois Youth Ambassador for the TSA, he was invited to address members of Congress and their aides about Tourette’s at a special luncheon. In addition he has developed a presentation designed to increase awareness about Tourette’s Syndrome and visits Chicago-area middle schools with his important message of acceptance. The all-conference captain of his Varsity football team, Ariel has achieved high honors each semester of his high school career and also finds the time to mentor local youngsters with Tourette’s Syndrome.

 Different is the New Normal is a presentation of Hourglass Films and a production of Small Boys Productions and Creative News Group in association with WNET New York Public Media. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local documentaries and other programs for the New York community and beyond. Major support for the documentary is provided by David and Robin Small. Executive Producer is Robin Small. Producer, Director and Writer is John Block. Director, Editor and Cinematographer is Matt Wechsler. Composer is David Varga. Narrator is Edie Magnus. For WNET’s Creative News Group, Executive Producer is Mary Lockhart. Executives-in-Charge are Stephen Segaller and Neal Shapiro.

 To learn more about “Different is the New Normal” click here and to learn more about Ariel Small, please click here.

In a previous post called  Tourette Syndrome and Hypnosis I introduced our new endeavor of trying hypnosis to reduce my son’s tics.  Our doctor, who is a psychologist at a teaching hospital, seems to be real good.  I am not sure if the difficulty of finding open time slots is an indication of a good doctor.  Originally when we reached out to him, it was five months before we could get an appointment.

At this point, my son has seen this doctor three times.  My son enjoys seeing him because the doctor is a big joker, and he is constantly testing to see if you are listening.  My son’s remark to me was that this was the best doctor he ever had, which had been many.  In these three appointments the doctor started to show my son how to do self-hypnosis.

The doctor calls this self-hypnosis process the Three and Six.  The process starts off with deep breathing and the eyes closed shut.  The rhythm consists of breathing in for three seconds and breathing out for six seconds.  This wasn’t anything new for my son, because in the past he learned bio feedback, which also has a similar deep breathing technique.

While the deep breathing is going on, the doctor facilitated relaxation, by calmly describing the relaxation of the body, starting with the feet and working upward to the head.  The doctor suggested that my son visualize a relaxing scene.  Once again, he facilitated the visualization by suggesting different characteristics of  the scene.  An example would be, asking if it is a sunny day or if my son could feel the warm breeze.  I have used visualization as a relaxing and focussing technique with my son since he was three years old. I found that if you focused using all of your senses on the distinct details of the scene, the more relaxed you could become.

One thing to note is that the doctor asked questions to my son throughout the session.  I was surprised that the talking did not break the relaxed state.  Once my son was relaxed, he described a specific visual item, which in this case was a stop sign.  After asking my son if he saw it, he explained that when my son is having that feeling that the tics are going to start he should immediately go into the Three And Six mode and visualize that stop sign.  He then told my son that the stop sign is very special and if you focus on the stop sign the tics will stop, or reduce in intensity and longevity.

While we were at the appointment the doctor also helped my son to visualize and apply self-hypnosis when he takes a shot for his diabetes.  The goal was to teach my son how to use the self-hypnosis to not feel any pain.  After focusing on a specific location for the shot, the doctor asked my son to rate the numbness of the spot, with zero being not at all numb and ten being completely numb.  The doctor then had my son imagine the feeling of numbing ointment that we sometimes use.  At the beginning of this session my son rated the numbness a zero.  By the time the doctor walked him through the process of the self-hypnosis, my son rated it an eight.  It was really remarkable.

Since these appointments, my son has been using the Three and Six technique both at school and at home.  His teachers remarked that he is really giving it his all.  At home he typically does it right before we have to change out his inset for his insulin pump, which has a needle poke for inserting the cannula, which is how his insulin is administered.  We have found that the self-hypnosis process is practical when my son has a warning that the tics are going to start.  If he doesn’t have the warning and instead immediately goes into a round of tics, which are pretty severe, the Three and Six method does not work.  When this happens he can’t concentrate enough to calm his body down.

The doctor stressed that my son should practice the technique.  He indicated that with practice the technique could become an automatic reaction for when the tics start.  The key is practice.   Unfortunately, practicing is not one of my son’s strong points, but we will keep working on this.  The other thing we need to work on is to be more conscious of triggers for the tics.  If he recognized a trigger, such as bright car lights at night, he could immediately do the Three and Six technique before the tics begin.  Unfortunately, we mistakenly didn’t add appointments as we saw the doctor and as a result of this, we are stuck waiting until November for our next appointment, or waiting for a cancellation.

To be continued . . .

As you may already know my son has Tourette Syndrome and we have been looking for a treatment that will reduce the amount of tics and reduce the intensity of the tics.  The following is an overview of Tourette Syndrome and a description of some of the treatment options.

Tourette Syndrome

Just for a little background information, Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder.  The first symptoms usually are involuntary (outside the patient’s control) movements (tics) of the face, arms, limbs or trunk.  These tics are frequent, repetitive and rapid.  Many persons report what are described as premonitory urges — the urge to perform a motor activity.  There are also verbal tics.  These verbal tics (vocalizations) usually occur with the movements.  Associated conditions can include attentional problems (ADHD/ADD, impulsiveness (and oppositional defiant disorder), obsessional compulsive behavior, and learning disabilities.  There is usually a family history of tics, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, OCD.   A diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome consists of the following criteria:

    • Both multiple motor and one or more vocal tics have been present at some time during the illness, although not necessarily concurrently.
    • The tics occur many times a day (usually in bouts) nearly every day or intermittently throughout a period of more than one year, and during this period there was never a tic-free period of more than three consecutive months.
    • The disturbance causes marked distress or significant impairment in social, occupational or other
    • important areas of functioning.
    • The onset is before age 18 years.
    • The disturbance is not due to the direct physiologic effects of a substance (e.g., stimulants) or a general medical condition (e.g., Huntington’s disease or postviral encephalitis).

Treatment Options

There is no cure for Tourette Syndrome yet, but there are a number of different treatment options to help control TS symptoms.  These treatment options include medications, hypnosis, Habit reversal training (HRT), massed negative practice, biofeedback, relaxation (such as exercise, yoga or meditation, deep breathing techniques), other behavioral approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  Each of these options have their good points and bad points and work differently from person to person.

Medications

Medications are available to help control TS symptoms and include atypical neuroleptics, neuroleptics, anti-hyperactive drugs, and anti-depressants. Individuals react differently to the various medications, and frequently it takes some time until the right substance and dosage for each person are achieved.  Almost all of the medications prescribed for TS treatment do not have a specific FDA indication for the disorder.  The biggest issue with these medication are the side affects.  Many people with TS would prefer to have their tics rather than dealing with the side effects of these drugs.

Trigger Avoidance

Trying to figure out what triggers the Tourette’s Syndrome tics is another way of treating the disorder without medication. By observing people with Tourette’s, one may be able to find something that triggers the tics, such as a certain phrase, sight or situation. Once the trigger or triggers have been found, they can be avoided. Of course, the key to this is identifying the trigger, which is not always easy.

One of the alternatives to the medications is hypnosis. Hypnosis is defined as a relaxed state of consciousness.  This state allows people to be more open to suggestions.  When the suggestions are related directly with their symptoms and anxiety, they are able to relax and make suggestions to reduce the Tourette Syndrome symptoms.  It is also known that stressful situations can worsen the tics of Tourette Syndrome.  After practicing the hypnosis methods people with Tourette Syndrome can make the suggestions a part of their normal life.

Stress Reduction

Other types of behavior therapy, such as meditation, deep breathing techniques and biofeedback have been shown to reduce stress, which increases how severe and how frequent the tics are.

Cognitive Behavioral Treatment

CBT is a type of behavior therapy used by mental health professionals to remove the negative thoughts and emotions connected to random or seemingly involuntary behaviors.  CBT involves modifying thoughts and behaviors that contribute to symptoms, problems in functioning, and quality of life. It is one of the most research-supported forms of therapy and has been used effectively to address a wide range of psychological conditions. CBT can be tailored for young children or those who have additional psychological or developmental issues.

A well-recognized CBT method to treat tics is Habit Reversal Training (HRT) a group of techniques that include awareness training and learning to replace tics with competing movements.

Habit Reversal Training (HRT)

The most effective type of behavior therapy is Habit Reversal Training. This type of therapy makes people more aware of their old habits and allows them to develop counter-habits. The therapist performing the Habit Reversal Training helps her patient become aware of when a tic will occur, then helps him practice the counter-response to the tic signals his body gives. Most of the time, Habit Reversal Training is effective in naturally treating Tourette’s Syndrome.

Cognitive restructuring is another CBT method that is often used in treating TS.

Cognitive Restructuring

This strategy, as the name implies, involves learning to modify the upsetting or rigid thinking that frequently accompanies TS. Since reducing body tension and overall reactivity is essential for those with tics, relaxation and stress management strategies are important for those with TS to learn as well. CBT strategies are also indicated to address family stress that is related to TS.

There are some factors that help determine whether an individual is a good candidate for CBT. One factor is motivational level. Another factor is being able to detect the thoughts, sensations, or feelings that occur right before a tic is a positive sign.

Hypnosis

Hypnosis has also been recognized as a treatment for the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome.  Hypnosis is a relaxed state of consciousness.  This state allows people to be more open to suggestions.  When the suggestions are related directly with their symptoms and anxiety, they are able to relax and make suggestions to reduce the Tourette Syndrome symptoms.

*Information provided from Tourette Syndrome Association

This a continuation of the post A new specialist for Tourette Syndrome…   In this previous post I described my son’s new doctor who specializes working with kids with Tourette Syndrome. He is not a typical doctor, but an expert in self-hypnosis, and my son enjoys talking with him. Our first appointment focused on the doctor getting to know my son and for my son to get comfortable talking to him. Dr Dan is a pretty funny guy and is fairly easy to talk with him.

This week we had another appointment with Dr. Dan. He began our second appointment by asking my son, “What did you think about our last meeting.”  My son said, “It was all good.  I also talked to my mom about what it meant when you asked me what types of tics I had.  I didn’t understand by what you meant by ‘types of tics.  We also talked about hypnosis.”

Description of a tic

The doctor asked my son, “What is your worst tic?”  My son said, “It is a yelling tic.” The doctor asked, “What happens when a tic starts?”   At first my son had a hard time describing it. I jumped into the discussion to help, and said to my son, “Think about where you are at when these tics start.” My son explained, I usually gets movement tics at the grocery store.”  The doctor then asked him what kinds of movements and my son showed him his jerking head tics.

My son explained to the doctor that there are so many people at the store and he felt like they were watching him. The doctor asked if the tics stop and if they do, how do they stop?   My son responded saying they just stop. The doctor asked if he was sure. He added, “Tell me what do you do when they start? What if you are not done shopping?” My son explained that sometimes he sits down on a bench at the store or he goes to the car. Then he does deep breathing to try to relax. The doctor exclaimed, “Well there is a lot that you are doing to make them stop.  You are removing yourself from the location, and your are doing deep breathing and trying to relax.”

He then said to my son that he knew that my son could not control the tics but did my son know what caused his tics.  My son couldn’t really answer.  The doctor turned to me and asked the same question.  I explained that when this first started I thought my son was doing it on purpose.  Later I realized it was tics, and it appears the tics are caused by stress.  The doctor responded that stress is a big word and has a big effect on many people.

The doctor went on to tell my son about one of his patients that had the same type of tic my son had except his yelling tic was so loud that when the boy had an appointment with the doctor other people in the building would come to his office to see if everything was all right. The doctor explained to my son that he ran into this boy’s mother at a local mall. The mother approached Dr. Dan and told him she wanted to update him on her son David. The woman said, “David is now 26 years old, has graduated from college and is married. He hasn’t had a yelling tic for over ten years.” The doctor then said to my son that we can make that happen with him too.

Visualization

The doctor asked my son if he can go some place without physically moving. My son laughed and said no. The doctor said that he could, and he asked us to watch him do it. He closed his eyes and explained to us he was on the beach and his dog was sitting beside him.  He even reached out to pet the dog.  My son then understood that by imagining the beach the doctor could go there in his mind.

The doctor asked my son to participate in an experiment. He brought out a pad of paper and a pen. He asked my son to close his eyes and then write his name on the paper. After my son did this the doctor said keep your eyes closed and now write your name in cursive. Then he said my son could open his eyes. Looking at the piece of paper, my son had perfectly printed and wrote in cursive his first name.  The doctor asked how did you do that?  He continued, “Did you tell your hand that it should write the letters of your name, making them nicely spaced, and beginning your name with a capital letter?”  My son said, “No, I just imagined my name and then I wrote it.”  The doctor then said, “That is exactly what I am going to teach you to do which will help you with your tics, or taking shots or falling asleep at night.  He also asked my son how did he learn how to write his name so well.  My son said it was with practice.  The doctor explained that my son will need to practice in order to get the benefit from self-hypnosis.  The topic of practice came up several times during the discussion.

What is hypnosis

As I mentioned earlier my son and I had talked about this doctor being a specialist in hypnosis. Since my son brought up this discussion in the appointment Dr. Dan began talking about that topic.   A good portion of the appointment consisted of  talking about what hypnosis was. Dr. Dan first quizzed my son and asked him to describe what he knew about hypnosis. My son gave the typical Scooby Doo television description of hypnosis:

It’s like a trance.  A man takes a watch and swings it in front of the person, telling the person they are getting sleepy. The man then makes a suggestion that the hypnotized person do something, like squawk like a chicken. Soon the hypnotist snaps his fingers to wake up the guy. Everyone is laughing and the guy doesn’t understand what has just happened.

The doctor then told my son he was going to ask me what I knew about hypnosis, which he did.  I explained that of course I had seen hypnosis in cartoons, but I also participated in a hypnosis group in my college group.  Though I didn’t achieve what I wanted to achieve, I still used the relaxation techniques to this day.  During this description the doctor interrupted me at one point when I said that I did not accomplish what I wanted to with hypnosis.  He smiled and said, “Not yet.”

The doctor then turned to my son and asked if I had taught him those relaxing techniques.  My son said no, which really wasn’t true.  I had taught him visualization to get rid of hiccups.  When he was little we also used to breath and count when he had some of his seizures.  My son had also worked with a specialist who taught him biofeedback which used the deep breathing relaxing technique.  In fact my son tries to use that technique when we have to change his insulin inset, which is administered with a shot.  During this description the doctor interrupted me at one point when I said that I did not accomplish what I wanted to with hypnosis.  He smiled and said, “Not yet.”

The doctor explained that none of the TV depiction of hypnosis is true and that only you, yourself, can control your mind. He then went on a small tirade about the lack of ethics with these people who offer programs to stop smoking, losing weight, etc. or even worse, using the topic of hypnosis as a means of entertainment. He explained, hypnosis is a medical treatment and these people are practicing medicine without a license, which is against the law. He explained, that is why these people have a show for one day in a city and then they quickly leave town.  I could tell that this topic of giving the wrong impression about hypnosis really bothered this doctor.

As he was having this little tirade he was trying to get a TV ready to watch a VHS recording.  Soon his tirade of false impressions of hypnosis moved to a tirade about how the university doesn’t provide better equipment.  The TV was ancient.  The doctor wiggled all of the cords, and still the TV would not work.  He also said, “They won’t even pay to convert my videos to disc.  This is just another example of poor budgeting by our state government.”  As he continued to fiddle with the TV he mentioned that recently he got a phone call from a department in Washington D.C. asking him if the shut down of the state government, was impacting his access to his grant funds, which it wasn’t.

Demonstration by a previous patient

Soon the doctor came back to the task at hand and said that he was not going to waste our appointment time to deal with faulty equipment.  He said we will look at a different recording that he had on disc and could watch on his huge computer screen.  The DVD was a recording of a ten-year old girl explaining how hypnosis has affected her and how she does it.  She called it meditation rather than self-hypnosis.  She also explained what type of tics that she had, which ranged from a head turn to as extreme as coprolalia, which are swearing tics.  She called them bad word tics.  She demonstrated that as she relaxed, envisioning a nice place, she would then see a stop sign.  She said it was really “cool” because when she saw the stop sign her tics would stop.

Just three words:  3 and 6

At this point our appointment was getting close to the end.  The doctor wanted to give my son a tip for starting the process of self-hypnosis.  He said all you have to do is remember three words which are:  three and six.  He went on to explain that he wanted my son to practice breathing in deeply, through the nose, for at least three seconds, and then exhaling through the mouth for six seconds.  He demonstrated this and then asked my son what happens to the doctor’s shoulder when he does this.  My son said they go up when you breathed in and then they went down when you breathed out.  The doctor explained that as you continue doing the breathing exercise slowly the whole body would relax, all the way from the head to the toes.  Then to end our appointment he asked my son to practice this and he will see us at our next appointment.

A talent for children

Looking back at this appointment I realized why this doctor appeared to be good.  My son and I have been to many doctors, including pediatricians, neurologists and psychologist.  But none of them had the gift of talking to a child.  Yes, some of them changed their language and tone, but this doctor was different.  It was not just the style of the language but it was the progression of the topic.  He clearly lead my son through topics without my son realizing he was learning new things.  This doctor was really an expert at this.  He knew how to start down a topic, ease into it, get my son’s impression of it, and then provide the details of it, along with reinforcement.  As a result of this, the appointment was actually enjoyable.  The doctor even mentioned that my son was a very good listener, and remembered things that many people would not remember such as not using the words “trying” or “can’t.”  The way this doctor was working with my son was actually boosting my son’s self-esteem.  It was absolutely wonderful to watch.  I am looking forward to our next appointment in a couple of weeks.

To Be Continued . . .