Dear Tourette Parent…

Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash

You are not as alone as you think you are.

Dear Tourette Parent, your child’s meltdowns and rages are common.

Dear Tourette Parent, save for a precious few, most clinicians aren’t aware that your child’s meltdowns and rages are common.

Dear Tourette Parent, if the clinicians are telling you that your child is beyond help because of a label they’ve been assigned, then those of us who work with and live with and who love individuals with Tourette hope that you will at least take a moment to consider that maybe what you’ve been told is incomplete. Or wrong.

Why? Because Dear Tourette Parent…

Because Pediatric Bipolar disorder is rare. Because ADHD is not. Low frustration tolerances and constantly changing moods in ADHD aren’t rare either.

Because there’s no requirement to be hyperactive to have ADHD.

Because OCD is not what you think.

Because Sleep Disorders & Tourette are like peanut butter & jelly.

Because Anxiety & Tourette are like chocolate & milk.

Because Twice Exceptionality isn’t really all that exceptional…many children and adults with Tourette have both high IQs and specific learning disabilities.

Because meltdowns and rages over homework aren’t strangers to Tourette. Mostly because Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia aren’t either.

Because chewing holes in their clothes and freaking out over sounds and not being able to be in crowds or wear socks with bumps or underwear or eat things that have certain textures or have it too hot or have it too cold or sleep in a bed that’s too soft could be signs of SPD.

Because stimming isn’t specific to Autism.

Because depression — including saying they want to die — is common, even in our youngest children.

Because tics can, and frequently do, happen in their sleep.

Because individuals with Tourette can pick off their skin or pull out their hair.

Because you will find out what Executive Dysfunction is, because you will most likely find old sandwiches in their bookbags and dirty dishes under their beds and find things strewn about that don’t belong anywhere near where they’re left.

Because they might act immature and exhibit the brutal honesty of a toddler. Because they may astound with comments that are inappropriate, baffle with inflexibility and black and white thinking, and frustrate with their emotional immaturity and inability to understand social cues. And you will probably be surprised when, inexplicably, they suddenly catch up.

Because your child may suffer from intrusive thoughts and images.

Because, truly, OCD is not what you think.

Because you will see a flurry of tics after school, an increase in symptoms during illnesses; you will learn what disinhibition and impulsivity and reactivity are by firsthand experience.

Because your child isn’t swearing because they want to be bad.

Because your child isn’t defying you because they’re defiant.

Because you have no idea what normal is when you are required to redefine normal by the guideline of Tourette.

Because, seriously, OCD is not what you think.

Because, dear Tourette Parent, we must learn to adjust our expectations. We must learn to reevaluate our perspectives. Because we need to meditate on and to repeat like a mantra: Our children have a neurodevelopmental disorder that sometimes looks purposeful. It is not.

Because all of this common.

Because all of this can be Tourette.

And because, dear Tourette Parent, you really aren’t as alone as you think you are.

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