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Transient Tic - Throat Clearing - 8 year old


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#1 Maton

Posted 31 May 2019 - 06:14 PM

I know I’ve self diagnosed this but I believe my 8 year old son has a throat clearing tic at the moment. He had some blinking going which we had checked with a specialist last year to rule out vision issues and they basically said it was nothing to worry about. It eventually went away and came back this year.

Then in the last week, he’s started throat clearing, coupled with how kids block their mouths with their arms. After some research I realised it’s connected to his blinking and likely a tic.

They say many kids at this age have tics which I accept and research also says that they tend to go away on their own without any medication. I’d be against medication unless absolutely necessary but that’s another issue.

Research says if the tic isn’t bothering the child to just let it be and make sure that you don’t draw attention as this will make it worse. It’s been less than a week now and we’ve adjusted to not drawing attention to it. I’ve also found by stimulating him in conversation he forgets to do it. When he’s stressed he’ll do it very frequently which can’t be easy for him. Certainly not easy watching him.

He’s got a fair bit on with sports at the moment which I was worried was causing an impact to him but I read sport is a help. Then he also just finished the naplan so that could have played a part as well. At times I feel he’s got anxiety too but generally he’s in good spirits and interacts a lot.

Apologies for the long post. I can research plenty but what I’m looking for most is comments from parents that have been in my position. Advice would be great and perhaps some expectations for the situation. Any comments are most welcome. Thanks.

#2 José

Posted 31 May 2019 - 06:19 PM

you're saying its been less than one week.

so, my first advice is to give it time.
see a psychologist if it persists.


#3 Maton

Posted 31 May 2019 - 06:27 PM

Yes the throat clearing close to 1 week. Blinking a couple weeks more. Last year several weeks of blinking and then it went. But the blinking doesn’t feel as severe as throat clearing.

When he’s talking about something in detail it’s not there. We will certainly consider taking him to a specialist but I’m just looking for people to share similar experiences if possible.

#4 Mrs Twit

Posted 31 May 2019 - 06:40 PM

My DS had an eye rolling tic at about the same age. It went on for ages - probably best part of a year. We tried saying nothing about it but eventually talked about it with him (but didn't make a big deal about it). He was aware he was doing it but couldn't stop. He was under a lot of stress at the time. Had a horrible teacher and some other things not going too well. Anyway it did go away but I remember my DH and I being quite distressed by it.

#5 Teds

Posted 31 May 2019 - 06:47 PM

Oh thank ypu so much for putting this up. My 7 year old daughter has some tic's at the moment and I have been concerned. Nose clearing, tongue clicking and touching her chin to her shoulder. Definitely worse when she is tired and the end of the day. I read it was not uncommon at this age... But I have been concerned. I won't worry so much now, just keep and eye on it I suppose. Any idea what age they should resolve by? When should I start to worry again.if they haven't cleared up?

#6 Maton

Posted 31 May 2019 - 07:02 PM

View PostMrs Twit, on 31 May 2019 - 06:40 PM, said:

My DS had an eye rolling tic at about the same age. It went on for ages - probably best part of a year. We tried saying nothing about it but eventually talked about it with him (but didn't make a big deal about it). He was aware he was doing it but couldn't stop. He was under a lot of stress at the time. Had a horrible teacher and some other things not going too well. Anyway it did go away but I remember my DH and I being quite distressed by it.

Best part of the year will be hard to watch him endure. He also is aware that he’s doing it but we don’t harp on it as we know he can’t control it. Watching him now relaxing, he hasn’t done it for at least 10 mins. It’s a tough one.

#7 littlepickle

Posted 31 May 2019 - 07:24 PM

We had multiple ticks from 8-12 with the occasional mild episodes now at 14 with DS. We went through eye blinking, throat clearing, sniffing , shoulder shrugging and head bobbling (like those dogs on the dash board). Possibly related to some anxiety issues but nothing that he could articulate. I was preparing to take him for some EFT therapy (taping) when it resolved. If there had been other issues I was worried about at the same time I would have sought support from a psychologist. I never had any teachers voice concerns during this time.
Good luck

#8 Jenflea

Posted 31 May 2019 - 07:40 PM

9 yr old Dd does the blinking thing.

I think she's done the throat clearing thing but it's hard to tell if it's a tic or because she's got a throat that NEEDS clearing!

I try to ignore the blinking, she does it most when she's talking to me.

#9 BornToLove

Posted 31 May 2019 - 08:20 PM

How is he going socially? With friends and classmates?

DD had a tic last year (year 3) and her tic increased in frequency and was much more pronounced when dramas within her friendship group were difficult for her. They would disappear over school holidays or when she spent less time with one girl in particular.

She’s no longer in the same class as the one friend and generally less drama within the friendship group. I can’t remember the last time I noticed DD doing her tic.

#10 Maton

Posted 31 May 2019 - 08:50 PM

View PostBornToLove, on 31 May 2019 - 08:20 PM, said:

How is he going socially? With friends and classmates?

DD had a tic last year (year 3) and her tic increased in frequency and was much more pronounced when dramas within her friendship group were difficult for her. They would disappear over school holidays or when she spent less time with one girl in particular.

She’s no longer in the same class as the one friend and generally less drama within the friendship group. I can’t remember the last time I noticed DD doing her tic.

Hard to tell, as a typical boy, info isn’t always forthcoming. He may be. We’ve asked him who he plays with regularly and there’s nothing really that’s made me concerned.

I did mention the naplan. He did get surprised with a catch up test on a day he wasn’t expecting which happened just a few days before the throat clearing started which upset him.

The tic is magnified by the fact that he’s got the manners to raise his arm to cover his mouth every time he coughs. So he’s raising his arm a lot with a quick action.

Watched him again tonight and he had some good spells of nothing too.

#11 AJPM

Posted 31 May 2019 - 09:07 PM

Sounds very similar to my 5 year old. He had the eye blinking when he was 4 and since Christmas he has had throat clearing, chin wiping and face touching (all over). Sometimes all at once which is a little confronting to watch. He has started kindy this year (NSW) and has a fairly anxious personality. His tics come out when he is nervous or concentrating really hard at something. He is very intelligent, athletic and social but I can clearly see perfectionism traits that go along with his anxiousness.
I took him to the GP when I realized the throat clearing was actually making something in his throat click - I could feel it. I just wanted to check it wasn’t something physical. GP thought it was fine but sent me to a paed just to make sure.
Paed says he’s physically fine and they don’t do much for motor tics unless it really starts to affect his life (bullying, school avoidance etc). Meds aren’t terribly effective and have some serious side effects and behavioral therapies don’t work particularly well either. He said just to keep on how we are, not taking any notice of it, and to bring him back if it affects his life in the future.
It doesn’t seem to worry him so I’m leaving it at that for now 😊

#12 Maton

Posted 31 May 2019 - 09:28 PM

View PostAJPM, on 31 May 2019 - 09:07 PM, said:

Sounds very similar to my 5 year old. He had the eye blinking when he was 4 and since Christmas he has had throat clearing, chin wiping and face touching (all over). Sometimes all at once which is a little confronting to watch. He has started kindy this year (NSW) and has a fairly anxious personality. His tics come out when he is nervous or concentrating really hard at something. He is very intelligent, athletic and social but I can clearly see perfectionism traits that go along with his anxiousness.
I took him to the GP when I realized the throat clearing was actually making something in his throat click - I could feel it. I just wanted to check it wasn’t something physical. GP thought it was fine but sent me to a paed just to make sure.
Paed says he’s physically fine and they don’t do much for motor tics unless it really starts to affect his life (bullying, school avoidance etc). Meds aren’t terribly effective and have some serious side effects and behavioral therapies don’t work particularly well either. He said just to keep on how we are, not taking any notice of it, and to bring him back if it affects his life in the future.
It doesn’t seem to worry him so I’m leaving it at that for now 😊

Thank you. I appreciate the post. Interesting about the perfectionism angle causing the anxiety as I believe my son also shows signs of being a perfectionist. Probably something he’s picked up off me.

The naplan catch up triggered it I think as he wasn’t expecting. But kids are resilient so I’m hoping it drops off as I’d hate for this to create a bullying/teasing scenario.

I certainly don’t want to do any medication option. It’s comforting hearing about similar situations.

#13 Mrs Twit

Posted 31 May 2019 - 10:24 PM

No bullying or teasing for my DS luckily. We did warn his teachers about it though so that they didn't think the eye rolling was him being insolent :)

We also put a lot of effort as a family into building up his self esteem at home - making sure he was being heard as being the youngest and not very assertive he got talked over a lot at home so would often give up trying to tell us something. I believe that really helped and

he is a lot more confident now.



#14 Fourteenyears

Posted 01 June 2019 - 07:18 AM

Mine had a throat clearing tic that after about a year turned into a little vocal tic, which was alarming because it seemed like a bit of an escalation to me. (It wasn’t, it was just a change).   That also lasted about a year.  It would come and go - worse during exam time and better over school holidays.

I haven’t noticed it for ages now, and can’t remember quite when it started or finished.  It was probably around between the ages of eleven and thirteen.



#15 Kreme

Posted 01 June 2019 - 11:24 AM

One of mine had a throat clearing tic around age 8 that coincided with changing schools. Nothing was ever said by kids or teachers - if you look around it is actually quite common for kids to experience mild tics.

It lasted for about a year and once she was happy and settled in her new class it went away. I was watching for it to return when she started high school but it hasn’t.

She’s definitely a perfectionist. My niece is too and she will blink excessively when she’s stressed.

#16 BadCat

Posted 01 June 2019 - 12:13 PM

One of my kids had tics for years.  Throat clearing, eye rolling, shoulder rolling, all sorts of stuff.

I alerted their teacher, particularly for the eye roll because it could be construed as deliberate rudeness, but otherwise ignored it and let it run its course.

It all cleared up eventually.  No therapy or meds required.

#17 ~Bob~

Posted 01 June 2019 - 01:25 PM

Tics are on a spectrum. On the mild end of the spectrum are the transient tics that a lot of you are talking about. They did a small study (too small for a general conclusion) but 30% of all children in that study had a tic during the year. It really is very common. Best is to ignore it and I’ve never heard of anyone who was medicated for a transient tic (though I’m sure somewhere in the world there is).

On the moderate end are the vocal tic disorder or the motor tic disorder, where you have a motor or vocal tic/s that hangs around for more than a year.

Then on the more severe end of the spectrum is Tourette’s, where you have motor tics and at least one vocal tic that have been there for more than a year without a 3 month break. If your child meets this criteria, I always suggest that you see a developmental paediatrician because 80% of people with Tourettes have a co-morbid condition like OCS, anxiety, ADD etc. Those conditions are often harder to treat than tics.

For those of you who have said that your child is anxious, or a perfectionist with tics, just watch out for this and take them to get help earlier than you probably would minus the tics. Children are malleable and can he helped with co-morbid conditions (often without meds if that’s you’re preference).

As for the age, generally it pops up around 7-8 and it generally gets worse from around 10-14 where it lessens a lot after puberty has fully established. This is for full blown Tourette’s though, transient tics normally settle by high school. And this is general, not all people follow this trajectory.

#18 Malkin Slinkhard

Posted 02 June 2019 - 07:37 AM

I’d totally forgotten I used to do this as a kid - blinking, vocal, eye rolling and opening my mouth. Particularly bad around puberty. It went away eventually but was probably linked to anxiety, which didn’t go away. I didn’t care so much about the tics, and nobody ever said anything about them except my parents who used to make fun of them and tell me to stop, which obviously I couldn’t. Tics are probably not too much of a worry, but keep an eye on what may be underlying it.

#19 Maton

Posted 02 June 2019 - 11:16 PM

Thanks all for the info. When he showed some blinking a little while back we didn’t think as much of it. The throat clearing together with blocking your mouth is more in your face. When it does worry me most is when he goes through a period of high frequency (there’ll be one throat clear) every 5 seconds and that could go on for quite a few mins. There’s times when it’s much less frequent.

It’s only been the 8 days. We’ve generally learned to not draw attention to it but it’s always in the back of my mind.

#20 Maton

Posted 06 June 2019 - 08:22 AM

Had a chat to my son yesterday about it. Came about during homework. I know most tics don't have too much effect but i felt it did a great deal last night as we were doing maths homework. Throat clearing every 2 seconds pretty much.

He's aware that he's doing it. I knew he would be but to hear him say, i cant stop clearing my throat is a little hard to hear. It's been a week and a half or so.

He's done the blinking before but i felt that didn't have too much an impact.

#21 Maton

Posted 17 June 2019 - 09:11 PM

It’s been about a month now but I’m slightly more concerned that a couple of new ones have surfaced the last week. Arm jerking when he’s tired at sitting at a computer for homework or watching tv at the end of the day. Then the last couple of days tilting his neck up. Mentions his neck is sore or he’s uncomfortable.

Again I’m conscious not to bring this up with him but I’m worried for him at school. He’s generally pretty happy and I’ve mentioned I think he has anxiety. We’ve been trying hard to alleviate any of that as much as we can.

Like I said it’s been about a month and the latest two tics have me more alarmed rightly or wrongly. At times I feel like his blinking and throat clearing have lessened considerably.

#22 Mrs Twit

Posted 18 June 2019 - 10:37 PM

Perhaps the neck tilting isn't a tic if he is complaining his neck is sore. Could you try a bit of a massage around his shoulders and neck to see if he has any sore spots. Maybe he has slept in a bad position.

If you are concerned take him to your GP. It sounds like tics are very common from everyone's posts above. But as I said before we found it very distressing to watch when my DS was doing it and were constantly wondering what was behind it.

#23 Maton

Posted 18 June 2019 - 11:26 PM

Yeh I think it’s probably what we need to do. Feels like the tics have gotten progressively more alarming to watch. Wasn’t easy watching/hearing the throat clear, then the arm lift and now the neck raise. He says he’s uncomfortable and when massaging he seems to relax. The throat clearing is nowhere near as prevalent.

I think the fact that a month ago, there wasn’t any of these tics to view has made this a little harder for me to deal with. Relatively sudden on the end of naplan.

We’ve been working extra hard on trying to alleviate any angst he has. Whilst I always want him to have high standards I’ve always reassured him I’d be able to help him through any challenges so not sure why he’s gotten so anxious.

Still plays really competitive soccer on the weekend and hasn’t really missed a beat. It’s only when he’s concentrating extra hard or really tired that the tics are really repetitive. I can slow them down with a gentle touch to let him know I’m there.

I’m spending a fair bit of time thinking about it also as it’s new to us and came out of the blue.

#24 Kreme

Posted 19 June 2019 - 07:50 AM

I mean this in the kindest way possible, but if you’re constantly watching him and worrying about the tics, that’s going to create an anxious environment for him.

Tics are very common, I see lots of kids with them and nobody seems to worry too much. Honestly I think it is an overreaction to take him off to the doctor after less than a month.

Just model acceptance of imperfection. We all have our little quirks and that’s ok!

#25 Maton

Posted 19 June 2019 - 08:43 AM

I agree. But I feel like I’ve managed to make sure I’m not making him self-conscious. I observe only when he can’t see me and when he does the tics in front of me, I don’t give the slightest indication that I’ve noticed even though sometimes he drops a hint of a smile to acknowledge that he’s done one. He knows he’s doing it but can’t control the urge which i understand.

Yes it’s only a month. Just worried due to it being something new and out of the blue and it’s on me to handle it better.




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