For many, the holidays are a time to be with family and friends to celebrate. For others, it is a time to shop till you drop and give and receive presents. But for children with special needs, specifically Tourette syndrome, the holiday time can be very difficult. The stress level and excitement that happens between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be tough for both adults and children.
So, what should others expect from a person with TS? And what should the person with TS expect?
A few things you need to remember:
1) People with Tourette syndrome develop more symptoms when they are excited or under stress. The holiday season could bring on more tics than usual. They could happen more frequently or new tics could come on.
2) Try to keep to the routines for your kids and students as much as possible. Go to bed on time, keep meals around the same time, keep homework and other after school activities similar to the rest of the year.
3) Watch your diet. Too much caffeine, chocolate, drinks, etc could cause changes to your life. Keep your diet in check during these tough weeks as everyone stuffs themselves with yummy food. Keep a balance.
4) Find a way to relax. If it is reading a book, getting on the computer to email, taking a walk or writing in your journal, find time to “get away.” This will allow your body to regulate itself. Overall, try not to overstimulate yourself during this already crazy time period.
5) Celebrate and enjoy the time you will have with family and friends. Sometimes throughout the year, life can be tough. So, kick back and enjoy the good times so when you have a tough day down the road, you can look back on the weeks you had positive memories to help you get through whatever may come your way.
And if all else fails, go read the book or watch the movie, Front of the Class. It can never hurt to hear my story again.
Cheers, Brad Cohen