Nervous Tics in a Nine Year Old Boy

Written by dad - 47 Comments

Over the years, our nine year old son has gone through short stretches where he develops a nervous tic of sorts — frequent, rapid, and involuntary blinking. In general, this has come on out of nowhere, and then disappeared within a few weeks. However, it came back again this spring/summer and has been both more apparent and more persistent, having lasted for a couple of months now.

After having done a bit of background reading, it seems that the prevailing wisdom is that nervous tics of this sort are more common in boys than girls, and that they typically come and go of their own accord without needing any sort of treatment or intervention. Moreover, they’re often more apparent when kids are bored, stressed, or tired.

We know that stress is one potential trigger, as his last bout with “the blinkies” coincided with our interstate move last summer. It was also very noticeable back when he was about four and a half years old and we moved to a new house. That instance was exacerbated by the fact that our house was new construction, and we still had workmen coming in and out of the house to finish things up for awhile after we moved in — I can only imagine how his four year old brain perceived all the craziness.

While it often seems to be triggered by stress or anxiety, however, there have been other times (such as now) when it’s happened in the absence of any apparent external stressors. We’ve gone out of our way not to draw attention to it, and have been proceeding under the assumption that his blinking will go away on its own as it always has in the past. However, it’s definitely been weighing more heavily on our mind as the initial weeks have stretched into months.

Anyone have any experience with things like this or any thoughts to share?

Published on June 15th, 2007 - 47 Comments
Filed under: Health
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Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. Sounds like a good question to send in to Dr. Mike at Pediacast (www.pediacast.org)

    Shameless plug. 😉

    Comment by Karen — Jun 15th 2007 @ 7:24 am
  2. I remember having ticks when younger.
    It’s one of those things where there more you think about it, the more likely it won’t go away.

    Actually, after reading this post, I think my left eye started twitching again…

    Comment by J2R — Jun 15th 2007 @ 12:16 pm
  3. My sister when she was young was losing her hair for a while, and no one could figure out why. They called my parents in to make sure that they weren’t abusing her because she’d never take off her jacket and she was very shy and reserved.

    Eventually she met with a counselor and they determined that she was just an overachiever. She was stressed in fourth grade because the wasn’t absolutely top #1 in everything she did. The counselor asked her, “Don’t you think that’s a bit unreasonable?” and after that she was fine. My mom said it was an amazing transformation. The stress to perform was never from my parents, somehow it got into her that she NEEDED to be #1 in everything.

    So you never know where these things come from. Keep talking to your kid, which I know you’re doing, but perhaps try a school counselor who may ask different questions.

    Comment by FamilyFinanceBlog — Jun 15th 2007 @ 12:46 pm
  4. My son (3 1/2 years old) was just recently diagnosed with the same thing. We notice it more when he is watching TV or eating (relaxed), and working on his phonics book (concentrating). Our doctor said that he does it then because his brain sort of “looses control” of that automatic function of blinking when he is highly focused on something else. He may seem relaxed when watching TV, but he is actually processing a great deal of audio/visual information. We also noticed that his blinking increased a great deal after giving him dark chocolate, which is high in caffeine. Our doctor told us that stimulants like that can increase the ticking behavior. Prescription stimulants like Ritalin can increase ticking a great deal.
    I would guess that your son’s ticking was almost certainly temporarily increased by the stress of moving and building. Is there anything else environmentally that could be affecting it? Has his diet changed? Is he sleeping well?
    As far as it going away on its own, our doctor told us that it may come and go throughout childhood and up to adolescence. It could also “morph” into a different ticking behavior such as grunting/throat clearing or facial muscle twitching. It is really just a “wait and see” what happens problem. Nothing can be done for it.

    Comment by Luke Postema — Jun 15th 2007 @ 12:56 pm
  5. Several things to consider:
    Mr. Luke Postema’s post is certainly relevant: there are many reasons for “ticking” and only time will tell.
    But: it is very important for parents to have a diagnosis made by a good physician, the point being that knowing what’s what simply makes it a little bit easier to deal with…
    An example: a good friend, whose 11-year old son has the exact symptoms you describe,(actually more severe: he has the involuntary grunting/throat clearing mr. Postema describes) had him examined by a neurologist: the boy was diagnosed with a mild form of Tourette’s syndrome. I’m certainly not implying this is the case with your son, but I do know my friend -though obviously far from happy- was very relieved to finally know what was the matter, so they could deal with it appropriately. The family is being counseled, schoolteachers and classmates have been informed: thanks to timely and proper guidance, the young man in question will be starting middle school with all the necessary confidence… Information generates understanding and, hopefully, tolerance. (By the way: has anyone outside of the family ever commented on it ? Have you determined whether the ticks occur during school or peerplay ?) In short: don’t wait any longer, have yourself referred to a good doctor. You owe it to yourselves to be rid of doubt. Best of luck !

    Comment by Pericharis — Jun 16th 2007 @ 4:46 am
  6. FamilyFinanceBlog: Your comments about a kid putting a ton of pressure on themselves really hit home, as our son is incredibly self-motivated when it comes to school and pushes himself very hard (even though he’s only in third grade). Personally, I think it would do him a world of good to at least once get a ‘C’ (or even a ‘B’) on something so he won’t keep up the self-applied pressure to get all A’s.

    Example: He earned a “Homework Pass” that, when redeemed, would get him out of doing his homework for one day anytime during the school year. Instead of using it right away like many of his friends did, he kept saving it because he didn’t want to waste it when he didn’t really need it. But by the time the end of the year rolled around, it was clear that he had no intention of ever using the pass… Rather, he was concerned that, if he skipped his homework, he might end up not doing very well on a quiz! We encourage him to throw caution to the wind, and even joked around about buying him an ice cream if he used his pass, but to no avail. He did every single homework assignment all year long and never used his pass.

    Pericharis: Thanks for your reply. No, nobody else has really ever commented on it. In fact, my wife mentioned it to his teacher who said she’d keep her eyes out for it, but never reported seeing it. However, if he’s anything like me (and he is!) then the stress is in the anticipation… While I might get stressed out thinking about things that I have to do, once I’m tackling the task at hand, I’m totally focused and relaxed. That might be what’s going on here.

    Comment by dad — Jun 16th 2007 @ 9:30 am
  7. I agree with Pericharis that your son should be checked out by a good doctor. Just in case. Better to be certain it’s just standard stress, etc. related than tied to something else.
    Good luck 🙂

    Comment by a_m_m_b — Jun 16th 2007 @ 12:27 pm
  8. They may just be typical motor tics. However, there is a possibility it could be the beginnings of seeing Tourette’s Syndrome. Don’t panic!! My 3 boys and I all have it…it’s not all that you think it is!

    A great resource for info on tics and Tourette is http://www.tourettesyndrome.net

    There is a list of tics, both motor and vocal (required for diagnosis) and tons of other related info. It will give you a better handle on what you may be seeing. Keep a journal of what you see. And yes, I would see if there is a good doctor with this experience in your area….NOT all dr’s even have a clue!!

    Please don’t hesitate to email me…I would be glad to pass on what I know…

    Comment by Rindy — Jun 17th 2007 @ 12:19 am
  9. Hey Nickel,
    You son sounds JUST like my daughter. She’s almost 8, and is the most DRIVEN little kid… same deal w/ the homework. Two days after school is out, she’s asking for “bonus work” so that she can get ahead… I swear, if she didn’t look like me, I’d wonder… I worry for her, much more than I do for my son, who’s more laid back… I spoke to her doctor, and the doctor said that, instead of saying ‘relax’ or ‘don’t be so stressed’ that we should acknowledge how big a “deal” stuff is to her, and actually push her, just a bit, from time to time. Why? So that she can actually reach a place where she gets a “B” or a “C”… It worked really well with her. She was able to focus her energy AND learn how to “fail” w/ grace…
    As for the nervous tics.. I’d echo the others and suggest a doctor’s visit or consultation…

    Comment by NCN — Jun 17th 2007 @ 12:22 am
  10. Our 5 year old started with the “blinkies”, seemingly out of nowhere. It lasted about 6 months, then stopped. The principal of his school explained to me that his son experienced the same condition for about the same amount of time. I am not sure that this is something to be too concerned about.

    Comment by Ken — Jun 18th 2007 @ 6:26 am
  11. My son has been jerking his head and blinking his eyes, my husband and I believe he has a tick. However the doctor said he doesn’t. There is no other explanation that we can thick of for this behavior. I think I may need to take him to another doctor that specializes in this area only I have no clue where to start my search.

    Comment by Vee — Jun 18th 2007 @ 12:49 pm
  12. Hi: I was so happy to read that I am not the only one with that same concern. My son is 2 and he started blinking a lot like a month ago. He can’t control it. This kind of tic seems to be getting worst by the day. We took him to the Ophthalmologist thinking that maybe his eyesight was not good but it appears as if he can see just fine. Here in Chile they don’t send these cases to the neurologist so we don’t know what to do.

    Comment by Ivette — Jun 22nd 2007 @ 3:23 pm
  13. My son started blinking when he was at bat during softball games when he was about 8. (He was terrified of being hit by the ball.) The blinking continued, off and on, after that, and he developed other facial tics as well. We never made a big deal about it, but eventually his pediatrician scheduled an encephalogram for him (he was likely about 11 at that point). No abnormalities were apparent; eventually the tics disappeared, although even now–many years later–he’ll blink frequently when he’s talking about something bothersome.

    Comment by Karen2 — Jul 30th 2007 @ 3:04 pm
  14. My sons tics were more of a problem, because rather than blinking he was twitching his neck and arm in a jerky motion.

    After trying several things it turns out that he is allergic to soy, and if he eats very much of it the tics come back.

    We also had him getting osteopathic treaments, and they helped as well.

    Comment by rebecca — Jul 30th 2007 @ 4:13 pm
  15. Sorry for commenting on a really old thread but wanted to add my experience. When I was 9 or ten, (I’m 26 now) my head would jerk to one side, sometimes enough to crack my neck. My parents thought my brain was short-circuiting and had an EEG done on me. Nothing interesting came of that.
    Eventually we figured out/got diagnosed that it was motor tics/mild Tourette’s. Essentially the same thing in my eyes. Anyways, I had the same symptoms others are seeing, they’d happen more during stress or when I was relaxing after a stressful environment. Caffeine also made it worse for me.

    It tapered off over the next 16 years, but it still happens on occasion. Nowhere near as often as when I was young.

    Comment by Grant — Sep 27th 2007 @ 7:01 pm
  16. Just stumbled across this exchange. My 11 year-old also has mild Tourette’s. It also comes and goes (sniffing, throat-clearing) and is not apparent to others. He is very bright and does well in school. He is currently in 6th grade and seems to have a bit of difficulty in reading comprehension. He seems to have difficulty making the proper deductions and analysis of the stories/books he reads.

    I would like to know from all of you, especially GRANT,whether learning is affected by mild Tourette’s.

    Thanks for any input.

    Comment by Suebee — Oct 16th 2007 @ 8:20 am
  17. Suebee,
    I was in advanced classes most of the time when in school so I don’t believe it has an effect. Reading was a strong subject of mine, especially comprehension and analysis. Depending on how frequent the tics are, they could break his concentration, causing him to re-read the same phrase multiple times.
    In high school I did well, except I hated homework. I don’t think I can blame that on the tics. 🙂

    Comment by Grant — Oct 16th 2007 @ 8:33 am
  18. Grant,

    my son stays distracted to the point it is affected his class and homework. I am scared to see what his report card is going to look like. We are also now wondering if he doesn’t have ADD. I would really like for nothing to be wrong with him but I am having to face the fact that I just may have a child that suffers from a combination of problems (ADD & A tic). He likes to read books and he loves to catch bugs and watch them. He wants to be a scientist. He has no interest in sports and I am beginning to think that is a good thing since he can’t stay focused long enough to gey directions. My husband plays football in the yard with them and he has to give the play to him just b4 he is to execute it otherwise he’s off in space somewhere.

    Comment by Vee — Oct 16th 2007 @ 10:13 am
  19. Follow up: Son #4 had his 10 year old well child visit a few days ago. The general practitioner (woman and my age) told me that her son experienced the same idiosyncratic/ tic behaviors at the very same age. Her suggestion was to wait and hope he grows out of it. I’m inclined to agree, especially since I haven’t noticed any tics lately.

    Comment by mom — Oct 16th 2007 @ 9:11 pm
  20. Thanks for all your comments (thus far). They are quite reassuring for me.

    Comment by Suebee — Oct 17th 2007 @ 8:44 am
  21. Suebee, not trying to scare you but have you looked into having his lead levels checked. There are so many things out there in our environment especially dinnerware made in China that are highly toxic and the government isnt doing a thing about it. This definitely affects learning and probably lots of other brain functions. Lead from cups and plates especially microvavables, mercury from tuna fish and vaccinations, I think it could be what is causing such a rise in Autism and Aspergers.

    Comment by patricia — Jan 5th 2008 @ 3:43 pm
  22. Hi, just ran across your site.
    How are the tics?
    My daughter has the same thing (9) but I am pretty convinced it’s linked to the Nintendo gameboy. It seems to subside if I keep her off it. I am thinking it’s gotta go.. (which will make me the worlds’ most popular mom)

    Comment by PATTI — Feb 13th 2008 @ 10:15 am
  23. Patti: As per usual, they eventually faded away. They’ll likely be back at some point, but for now they’re once again a thing of the past.

    Comment by dad — Feb 13th 2008 @ 12:45 pm
  24. I have noticed that my (now 11 year-old) son’s minor tics ebb and flow. They seem to come out more during and subsequent to a head cold where he starts sniffling due to a stuffed nose and then continues this for weeks or months after the cold is gone. I have observed that the tics are more pronounced when he watches television. I do think that overall, they have decreased over the last few years and am hoping this continues. We did take him to a specialist when he was about 8 yrs. old where he was diagnosed w/mild Tourette’s. We were told then that these tics often subside as the child gets older, but may recur during the hormonal changes of adolescence and perhaps during times of increased stress.

    Patricia, thanks for your suggestions. I personally do not think that this has anything much to do with lead levels except perhaps in the case where kids are ingesting lead-based paint. As for mercury, I don’t think my kids eat enough tuna to have such a major impact if indeed there even is a connection.

    Comment by Suebee — Feb 14th 2008 @ 10:43 am
  25. Hey guys! I hope all is well with everyone. I just found this site a bit late too. I was researching the tic because my 5 year old son has it. He blinks alot (sometimes really hard), but it comes and goes, and I’ve spent many sleepless nights watching him sleep and he doesnt do it in his sleep… is that strange? He doesnt know he’s doing it though… that has been going on for about 3 months now and I was getting used to just ignoring it and hoping it would go away like I had been told… but lately he has been “tasting” things too… like his snot, earwax, and “other things”… when I tell him to stop he says he cant help it… and that he has to do it… has anyone ever experienced such craziness?? I am wondering if this is in anyway related to the tic!! HELP!!

    Comment by Cristy — Feb 19th 2008 @ 11:24 pm
  26. Hi I have also just stumbled across this website so thought I would add my woes too. Over the last few weeks I have noticed my son sniffing constantly although he doesn’t do it when he is sleeping. My husband mentioned an OCD or tourettes but i’m not sure I didn;t think much of it until this point although it is rather annoying and he does realise he does it but he doesn’t know why. I think I have started looking into more now and will take him to the doctors next week mainly because he came home from school and told us that his teacher told him to stop sniffing and we went to watch his sisters class assembly this morning and I noticed one of the teachers there told him to go and get some tissue which is no point as he has nothing there (checked last night), So am worried now – sorry to rant but you always want your children to be well, but guess we will see what docs say next week, thanks for listening

    Comment by Michelle — Mar 20th 2008 @ 5:10 pm
  27. Michelle,
    How old is your son? If I were you I’d go ahead and get him checked out, but the tics may pass. It says here http://www.tourettes-disorder....../tics.html that sniffing is one of the possible expressions of tics. I’d go ahead and inform his teachers that it’s involuntary, so they don’t think he’s just being a smartass and ignoring them.

    Comment by Grant — Mar 20th 2008 @ 6:55 pm
  28. Michelle,
    I wrote a while back about my daughter and her eye… before the eye, your message has reminded me, she was a serious sniffer. Now, post-snif, post-blink, 10 years old, she has a severely chapped chin because she licks it incessantly. Before ALL of this, she sucked her thumb until about 7 years old. I think what I am seeing in her is simply a tendency to have a “tic” as a “crutch”- especially when insecure, but she IS growing in her ability to stop. (She is working hard at keeping cream on that chin). She is a brilliant, sociable child in every other way and I am no longer disturbed as I know each tic will end! If your child is otherwise happy, and you are told by a doctor not to worry…DON’T worry.

    Comment by Patti — Mar 21st 2008 @ 2:54 am
  29. Yes! Yes! Yes! I’ve had so far eight years of going through this with my two sons. My now 12 year old is almost completely gone with them and my nine year old, as I sit here and type, is behind me banging his fist into the couch as he watches tv. He has had the ‘blinkies’, the throat clearing, the sniffles, the banging of the elbows, fists, feet, the grunts…..etc. I took him to a nueroligist and had all the tests done, mmr, cat skans, everthing just to make sure nothing was seriously wrong with his brain. After no concrete answers from any doctors I started seriously investigating this on my own. Five years later I’ve realized two things. This is becomming more and more common. A lot is blamed on vaccinations we give our children. The answer though, in my opinion is something called P.A.N.D.A.S. Try googling that. Please write me if you want further info., and please, please, please, don’t put him on any medication. Kids are so over medicated these days. I’ve used lots of things the homeopathy way and they’ve seemed to help a bunch. Please write. It weighs so heavy on a parents mind. Nancy

    Comment by Nancy Matera — Mar 26th 2008 @ 6:29 pm
  30. sorry…I should have mentioned to google ‘Pediatric Autoimmune Nuerological Dysfunction Associated with Strep’ (If you google pandas you might get the black and white bear!!)

    Comment by Nancy Matera — Mar 26th 2008 @ 6:37 pm
  31. thanks all for your comments I will try that website that you have mentioned nancy and will let you kno regards

    Comment by Michelle — Mar 27th 2008 @ 4:17 am
  32. Hi everyone! My son is 13 years old and has had these ticks since he was about 5 years old. We took him to our doctor who in turn says that boys have ticks more so than girls. He goes from one extreme to another. First it will be blinking, then he will make noises, now he is doing these flip thing with his middle fingers and people are starting to notice it more. He went over to a friends house recently and the mother called me and told me that dan had given her the finger!! I then got very defensive and had to tell her about his ticks. It was very emotional for my son and me also because you don’t like to see your child made fun of. I was thinking about getting a second opinion from another doctor. What do all of you think?

    Comment by kimberly gross — Mar 9th 2009 @ 5:26 am
  33. my 6yr old son has just started grunting,throat clearing, i asked him wots rong with his throat n he replied it was dry, this has been goin on now for 3wks now.. is this vocal tics? xx

    Comment by trish — Mar 10th 2009 @ 12:09 pm
  34. Please do get this checked out. My 6 year old daughter has been having tics since she was 3. Our family doctor said it was stress and to deal with it.

    I have found a wonderful pediatric neuro in California. He is absolutley wonderful. He performed a high tech eeg on Katie. There is only one other doctor in the united states that performs such a test. He found that her brain is short circuiting and and that is what is causing her tics. We just returned home today from our trip and I look forward to trying the medication he has prescribed.

    If any of you have any questions in regard to this, please do email me and I will try to help.

    Carole

    Comment by carole — Mar 20th 2009 @ 12:29 am
  35. thanku 4 that.. my son has now stoped the throat clearing, it lasted bout 4weeks.. he woke up 1 morning and the grunting had gone.. its been weeks now.. i hope it wont cum bk.. good luk with ur wee girl.. trish x

    Comment by trish — May 12th 2009 @ 4:05 pm
  36. At about age 12 my son developed tics including involuntary head twitching and blinking. After combing the Internet, I came upon something mentioning tuna and mercury with regard to the muscle twitching thing. My son (at that time) ate tons of tuna. At least a can a day, but often much more. We completely cut out the tuna and the symptoms got better and then eventually disappeared. According to the EPA and the FDA kids should only be eating tuna once ever few weeks: http://www.nrdc.org/health/eff.....y/tuna.asp
    I am not saying this will cure all children of tics, but hey, it certainly can’t hurt to stop poisoning kids with mercury!

    Comment by Bonnie C. — Jul 6th 2009 @ 9:18 pm
  37. My son has ADD. When he was 3, he blinked his eye alot. I thought his eyes were tired. It stopped after a week. It started this year that he was daignosed with ADD. He stop taking the meds, cause he had lost 3 lbs for less than a month. I noticed for the last 3 months his he kept opening his mouth in a wierd way. He is about to start school soon and I am afraid that this won’t go away.

    Comment by Jackie — Aug 8th 2009 @ 12:23 am
  38. carole,
    my 10 year old daughter has had mild eye blinking off and on for several years. She has recently been diagnosed with ADD and has been taking medication which has triggered more complex tics. What is the doctors name in california ? I want to take her to him.

    Comment by chris — May 1st 2010 @ 11:43 pm
  39. My 7 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 years old. He was put on a stimulant and last year he started to TIC. First, it was eye blinking, then neck jerking, and now some grunting. We immediately took him off of the stimulant as it can make them worse. He’s now on Intuniv. It comes and goes. That is the most important thing to know about TICs. They can come and go for no apparent reason. However, our doctor told us that growth spurts in children can play a large factor as well as stress and diet. That’s why the TICs are generally worse during childhood and puberty. In 60% of cases, they resolve themself by the time they are 18-20 years old. We have found a good neurologist in our area that monitors my son and we keep his TIC’s and ADHD in check with Intuniv and Risperidone. Some kids with TIC’s don’t need medication because they are mild enough that they don’t interfere too much. If it gets to the point where they are too much for your child, I would suggest taking him to someone who specializes in Tourette’s, TICs, or ADHD. Most psychiatrists know enough to help or a neurologist can be extremely helpful. The hardest thing for me is to watch is my son’s self esteem going downhill. Kids and even adults can be cruel so knowing what I’m dealing with is key. Now that we know how to handle it better, it’s much easier to reassure him that everything is going to be ok. TIC’s can be very hereditary. ADHD, TIC’s, Tourettes, and OCD are very closely related. If anyone in your family has any of these things, it can very easily be passed down. I had a few TIC’s growing up, but they resolved themselves in a few years. Hang in there and enjoy the good days. I know that my son is finally learning how to cope this more as he gets older and i hope he will be stronger for it.

    Comment by Heidi — Aug 2nd 2010 @ 8:38 pm
  40. Hi everyone,

    I ran across this website while researching blinking tics. My daughter is 5 and she just started a few months ago. She blinks rapildy and when she opens her eyes her right eye looks like it shoots from the lower left side to the upper right side of her eye. It made my stomach hurt the first time I saw it happen. Everyone (including my mom and husband) told me to hold off on a Dr. visit because it was allergy season and her eyes are probably dry. The only problem is that I know my child and I know if her eyes were dry that she would come tell me and or complain about it at least once…and nothing not even one complaint about her eyes itching or being dry. So I took their advice and waited it out. The blinking went away, but soon returned and seems to come and go and sometimes for just a few minutes or so. I am concerned and will be making an appointment with the peditrician just to ease my mind. I did not realize how common the blinking is until I started googling it. I have never heard of it and she is my only child so I have never experienced it. Hoping that the Dr. can ease my mind. It is nice to know that I am not the only one going through this. Good luck to all of you and your children.

    Comment by April — May 11th 2011 @ 9:24 pm
  41. Hi everyone I am in the same boat as you all. I have a four year old son who first started having the blinking eye TiC in March of 2010. It usually only occured in the evening or when he was watching television. I took him to his doctor thinking he was having a hard time seeing…. that was not the case and I was sent home being told he has a tick, it is common in boys, and it will pass. Now over the last year it seems as though all is normal, besides the fact that he is a very high strung child at times, and needs structure. At one point he did do the throat clearing thing and that passed to and than just this week the blinking returned. I honestly though it was allergies since he cleared his throat at one point and now is blinking a lot and it was more noticable after being out at the zoo all day. I took him to the doctor today hoping to get allergy testing done and she told me is alittle OCD and that this is a tick. She said that it may go away or it may linger and he may have mild trets. I am so saddened by the news…. I was just hoping it was allergies but to be honest the way he blinks looks odd and deep down I had a bad feeling about it and kind of thought it probably wasn’t allergies. Now it is a waiting game to see if and when it leaves. I talked to my grandma and she said that she had a two different ticks when growing up and that they went away. I had no idea of this! I noticed that some of the postings say stress and diet can bring on the ticks and this weekend we made chocolate chip cookies so maybe the caffeine in the cookies brought it on again??? And he had the stress of his dad being home for the weekend and leaving for two weeks for work. But he always has that stress because my husband is always traveling for work. It is so hard for me to watch him do the blinking and sometimes nodding his head with it… it looks so aggresive and painful to me. I was told to not point it out. So parents is there really nothing I can do? Just ignore it and act like all is normal? Would seeing a neurologist be beneficial?
    This site has been really helpful because I did feel all alone experiencing this with my son.

    Comment by Aleesha — Jun 14th 2011 @ 9:05 pm
  42. To Aleesha– I remember how stressed I was when my son had tics, and how frightened. Back then a friend told me boys often got tics and it would most likely go away on its own, but looking back I firmly believe it was the canned tuna. We had been eating LOTS of the albacore, believing to be a healthy, low cal, heart-smart choice, when it is unfortunately laden with the potent neurotoxin mercury: http://www.epa.gov/mercury/health.htm
    Back then I read a study online that talked about a connection between mercury exposure in kids, and tics.
    It took a couple of months off the tuna, and my son gradually stopped jerking his head and blinking his eyes. I don’t think it was a coincidence. I haven’t served tuna in over a decade, and don’t plan to. I used Costco’s canned chicken to make chicken salad sandwiches instead. My advice? Don’t draw attention to it. No reason for your son to be worried, too. Best wished.

    Comment by Bonnie C. — Jun 15th 2011 @ 4:44 am
  43. Thanks Bonnie for the reply. Your advice of not drawing attention to it is great advice and your reason behind it really hit home. I would hate for him to worry about it to. For now I plan to remove caffeine and any tuna from his diet and see of this helps. I do plan on still seeing the eye specialists to have other conditions ruled out. Thanks again!

    Comment by Aleesha — Jun 15th 2011 @ 7:54 am
  44. My 6 year old son has blinking tics where his eyes actualy roll back into his head. It started when he was about two with “blinking” that has come and gone for years.

    Over the years he also had the grunting and clearing the throat tics as well. He also shows many signs of OCD and unofficially diagnosed with ADHD.

    Long story short, we were living with toxic mold behind the walls of our home. There was NO sign of it at all and our house did not smell like mold. There was a slow leak in the roof and the moisture had been accumulating behind the wall for years before we saw any sign of it.

    We moved to AZ to get to a drier climate, and now we are dealing with pesticides! Everywhere! the tics are worse than ever.

    Please look for toxic triggers…VOCs from new cars or new construction can trigger tics, or pesticide/ herbicide exposure can as well. So many things can trigger this! Kids, especially some more than others, may have a genetic predisposition for environmental illness manifesting as tics and learning disabilities. I believe in finding the cause and removing it. Kids with tics probably have a high toxic load and meds will just add to that toxic load and make things worse or cause other problems.

    There is a vacuum test called ERMI (google it) which is pretty inexpensive and accurate, which will give you an idea of how many and what types of mold spores are in your home. If all checks out ok, then look into other possible toxic cause.

    We are trying to deal with this ourselves, It is tough! If things don’t improve, we will be trying the GAPS diet. We already eat organic and pretty healthy – no caffeine, no tuna (my kids don’t like it)!

    Comment by Jen P — Sep 26th 2011 @ 3:33 pm
  45. Hello, my 10 year old little brother has been developing these weird tics. When he was 8 he would squint randomly.
    Now he jerks one of his arms and sometime lifts one leg up. He does good in school and generally is a very well behaved. I been reading online and the stuff people say is mixed. Some say go to the doctor and others say leave it alone. My ignorant mother says its from playing too much Wii because its the same motions you would do in the game. What should I do??

    Comment by JJ — Apr 18th 2012 @ 6:22 am
  46. JJ. Get your brother tested asap for Strep by a blood test. If its positive get him an appointment with an Neuro. Most of these post’s are old and dont know what they are talking about.

    Comment by Janel B. — May 3rd 2012 @ 5:45 pm
  47. My son is 7 he has had all the tics mentioned herein and it’s been since atheist the age of 4. Recently though his hand and arm twitch constantly. If I told his hand he is Costantly squeezing mine within realizing. He. Complains his arm hurts. This is a new one for me and Im Concerned if it is actually a tic.

    Comment by rae — Aug 4th 2012 @ 3:24 am

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