• Gina

The Rise

Updated: Apr 16, 2018

2015. The year the wheels fell off our bus.

In full transparency, we'd been having challenges with our younger son for 2 1/2 years before the official crash, but this was different. The throat clearing. The facial grimaces. The shoulder shrugging. The noises. The dropping down to his knees while walking. The arm flinging.

We were baffled. What was this and why the sudden onset?

Looking back, it all adds up. At two our son went from sleeping 12 hours a night plus a 2 hour nap to 6-7 hours a night and nap be damned. We battled each night. We fought, ignored, threatened, punished...all of the wrong things, but the "right" way to handle things according to the parenting gurus. Nothing worked.

The challenging behavior increased ten-fold. The Ferrari engine roared to life for hours on end with no relief. The impulsivity was dangerous. The incredible intelligence of this little boy was awe-inspiring. The insistence of always being first and having things his way was life-sucking.

Our quality of life as a family went down the toilet. We were stressed, exhausted, and frustrated. What were we doing wrong? Would this ever end? This was unlike any phase we had experienced before. For months this raged on and we began our journey, albeit not known to us yet, into the world of Tourette Syndrome.

At age 5, the first diagnosis came: ADHD combined type with suspected anxiety. The tics continued, changing often, but never gone. School was a challenge, especially with no one willing to listen to our concerns and agree to evaluate or accommodate our son. Things went from bad to worse as the year progressed and, in the end, we sold our house and moved to another district in hopes of finding their educational staff willing to listen and devise a plan.

At age 6, Tourette Syndrome was confirmed. Tics, both motor and vocal, had been present for over a year. Anxiety was added to the list of diagnoses. Kindergarten was a mess. An intellectually gifted child who couldn't perform. A child with a written communication disorder no one would acknowledge or accommodate. Disinhibition he could not control. Social skills that lagged behind his peers. Constant sensory overload that led to undesirable actions. A little boy, punished for his symptoms daily, whose self-esteem was eradicated. A young child who was grossly misunderstood.