Tics, PANS/PANDAS: A Child’s Perspective

What is it like to be a child with tics?

“It’s the worst feeling, it’s miserable to not have control of your body.”

“It’s so embarrassing. I feel like everyone starts staring at me.”

“My teachers correct me for dropping my pencil over and over but I can’t help it.”

“People don’t understand the stress that tics make you feel.”

These are quotes from a client’s 13-year-old daughter. She was diagnosed with OCD, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorder at 4 years old, and Tourette Syndrome at 7 years old. Her mother isn’t the type to just brush things under the rug. She sought out all of the doctors, medications, and vitamins she could find. Her daughter only worsened as puberty set in. It wasn’t until she went through my Foundations to Flourish program, ran the right functional lab tests, and strictly followed the plan we designed that her daughter started to get better. 

Tics can be small and relatively unnoticeable to the untrained eyes and ears, or they can be complex, interrupting, and completely hijack a child’s mind and movements. Clients report that their children feel trapped in their own bodies, they avoid activities to avoid ticking around peers or strangers, and they physically CAN’T do things they want to do. 

For example, one client’s child could not bend down or squat down to pick something up without beginning a total tic storm of burpees, standing up only to drop down and bang her knees on the floor again. Another client’s child could not fix himself a glass of water because he needed to bang the glass on the counter so many times and so forcefully he was afraid it would break. Yet another client’s child had such a severe neck and shoulder tic that she was in physical pain from the movements she couldn’t control. One last example is a client’s child who had such a loud throat-clearing tic, he developed severe school avoidance because he was so anxious about making noises that he couldn’t control in class.

Tics suck. Having tics sucks. Being a kid going through all of the normal kid stuff and then adding tics to the equation sucks. Watching your child suffer and struggle to control their own voice and body SUCKS. But at the end of the day, as sorry as we feel for them, as much as we wish and pray it away, it doesn’t ease their burden. Being dragged in and out of doctors’ appointments, becoming a human pin cushion for blood tests, being given many varieties of medications (often with an additional slew of side effects), and feeling like everyone in your family is watching you with a microscope to see if the tics go away “this time” is exhausting. 

Many of our kids are also dealing with co-existing conditions such as anxiety, OCD, ADHD, Sensory processing issues, mood disorders, or PANS/PANDAS. Usually, parents have a different medical professional dedicated to treating their child for each of these issues. Kids with these diagnoses are used to being examined as pieces of a whole. They pray that the next pill, vitamin, or therapy will work, and they are devastated every time they don’t. 

Being a child with a tic disorder is a helpless feeling. One client’s child said: “Imagine if you really wanted to blink your eyes, but your body didn’t let you even though you were trying. That’s how bad it hurts sometimes when you have to tic.” Being a parent of a child with a tic disorder is overwhelming and heartbreaking. Our children notice how we handle their tics. They see us trying to help them the best way we know how, often to no avail. One client’s child said: “My mom tried so hard to help me. I always had her to talk to through everything. My life still sucked. I just wanted it to end.” That mother contacted me desperate and concerned that this statement would turn into a reality. She was worried for her daughter’s mental health, and even more so for her physical safety.

Every parent of a child with tics hits a breaking point or experiences a catalyst event that makes them say, “Enough is enough. We need to do something different. We can’t go on like this.” Usually, that’s when I meet the parents of my clients. They have volumes of health history to share, oftentimes years of failed treatments under their belts, and a burning desire to help their children. 

Parents of children with tic disorders choose to invest in my program because of my unique approach. I don’t just run tests and email you the results. I choose the tests your child specifically needs based on the health history I collect on our Discovery Call. I work with you one on one while we wait for those results to come back. I hold your hand through the process because I am a mother of a child with a tic disorder and I desperately needed a hand to hold years ago at the beginning of our journey. I evaluate your child’s test results from a scientific and clinical perspective, connecting the dots between each test to create a whole-child approach. I identify a step-by-step plan for your child to help them become tic-free. 

Being a child with a tic disorder makes childhood less fun. My expertise is in functional diagnostic lab testing, which enables me to see EXACTLY what the root cause is behind your child’s tics. You cannot fix a car’s engine without lifting the hood. You cannot permanently alleviate your child’s tics without very specific testing that is interpreted by an expert in tic disorders with the ability to create a customized and detailed plan of action. 

This is my specialty, what I have dedicated my life to, and my deepest passion. I help families get their kids back. I set the stage for childhood to be more fun, mornings to have less conflict, and parents to cut back on their worries. In the words of a child that I recently worked with, “Dr. Piper made me all better. Now I can move because I want to, not because I have to.” 

It is my goal to help every family tackle their child’s tics once and for all. I would love to work with you! Click here to set up a Discovery Call!

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