Does my three-year-old daughter have Tourette’s?

I have been told that one of the signs for Tourette’s, particularly in children, is pointing or when they connect their fingers, knuckles or fists together (my mother-in-law said my husband did this from 2-8 years of age, my husband has Tourette’s). I have noticed my three-year-old daughter doing that with her knuckles, she also has a stuttering problem for which she has just started speech therapy. I have talked to my doctor but they don’t seem concerned and brush off my concern. I just want to know if my daughter had inherited Tourette’s or not so I can start any tactics or therapy now.  She went through a “blinking” stage that started my worrying, but that has calmed down. It takes her hours to go to sleep unless she’s overly tired from playing outside. I am just concerned and can’t get any answers from my doctor.

We don’t know much about the genetics of Tourette’s. We do know that it often runs in families. One gene mutation, on the SLITRK1 gene,  has been linked with a small number of Tourette’s cases. Most people with Tourette’s do not have this mutation though.

Your concern about your daughter is legitimate but medical knowledge is just not sufficient to answer your concerns.

The most common problem with Tourette’s  is tics. Tics are sudden movements or noises that the person does not mean to do. They just happen.  Sometimes the noise is like a bark. The sudden movements may involve the hands but do not always.

Many people with Tourette’s also have other problems, especially with attention, anxiety and sleep.  Your daughter has some features of Tourette’s but it is impossible to diagnose at her age. The picture will become clearer with time.

Keep doing what you are doing. If she has a problem, such as stuttering, get some help for that problem.

There is no Tourette’s treatment that I would recommend at this time.  An excellent web resource for Tourette’s information is the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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One Response to Does my three-year-old daughter have Tourette’s?

  1. Cate says:

    My daughter has Tourettes- when she was around the age of 3 that is when I started to notice “little” things. She sounded like a hamster at times, making funny little noises. The tics were minor and varied- it could be a tapping of her nose, blinking, doing something funny with her mouth. I would never know what her tic would be. She is now 9 and still has the vocalizations and tics and she is a happy little girl with friends who understand her little idiosyncrasies.
    One thing I will suggest is when you child gets older and has tics- don’t question or ask her to stop.