Being a Person with Tourettes can be so difficult and challenging. For a child, it can be even more difficult. Sometimes it is extremely hard for the child to translate to adults what is happening to them and they cannot control the tics that occur. Many seek every solution in controlling the tics but most often, even after Tourettes is diagnosed, a solution is often not found. I have read that some visit doctor after doctor and trying tons of medication combinations. One useful solution that I have read many studies on is the use of Cannabis as a solution, but that is a topic for another day (read more here).
My beautiful, wonderful friend has a child with Tourettes. I have watched the struggle they have went through for years. The tics can often be severe and depilating. For the most part, people cannot tell she has Tourettes until a tic occurs. I am so proud of her daughter though. She is so strong, smart, happy and a very determined young lady. Even though it is a struggle, she insists on maintaining her schoolwork and a normal lifestyle.
Through much research, my friend found out that there are Service Dogs trained specifically to deal with Tourettes. Through certain body cues and voice change, these dogs are specifically trained to recognize when a tic is about to occur. The Service Dog will alert the people around so that they can help deal with the situation. Service Dogs also aid in calming the person with Tourettes. This calming effect is so helpful in a situation which could cause a tic to happen. For a person with Tourettes, a large crowd can be so very overwhelm to them. People get way to close and cause stress and tension, then a tic may happen. The service dog is trained to create a “buffer area” so that no one gets to close, even in large crowds. This “Buffer area” can allow a person with Tourettes to be able to go out into social situations more often without fear of the crowding. I have even read stories where the Service Dog was even trained to sit on a child when a tic was about to occur providing the child with safe, physical support during his/her time of need. Service Dogs provide a calming, mental support to those who suffer with Tourettes.
I spoke to my friend about how, specifically, they will be able to use a Service Dog for their Daughter to manage her Tourettes. She said
The Service Dog will provide therapy to help focus on something else when she is feeling tics, she will be able to pet him, brush him, he will play games to keep her focused on him.
He will alert her and redirect her to focus on him when he senses tics coming or a change in her chemistry.
If she is having a tic he will force her to sit down, or he will lay is body on her and apply pressure to the area of tics.
He will find us and alert us if she gets up at night or is going towards danger, road, walking down street, trying to go up a ladder (she has done all of this).
He will also help her with her OCD, Anxiety, and he will also sense when her stress level is rising and make her focus on him to calm her down.
If she starts having tics in her legs, he will force her to sit and not let her up until they pass, if she falls and can’t get up, he will get help from the nearest adult if he can’t find us within range that he can still see her, if he can’t find help he will stand over to guard her until she can get up or he can get help.
He will also be a sense of security for her. He is also large and strong enough to pull or push her from harm’s way and then get our attention.
Service Dogs can be extremely useful and provide many benefits to those with Tourettes. With Service Dogs, many with Tourettes are being able to return to school/college, work, participate in more activities, etc. Service Dogs can truly change the lives of people suffering from Tourettes as well as their loved ones. I feel we need to educate the world more on this “Alternative” option of dealing with Tourettes and help support the cause. If you have any information on this subject, PLEASE SHARE in comments. The more we participate and educate on the subject, the more we can help those with Tourettes.
If you feel lead to help my friend and her beautiful daughter get her Service Dog, Please visit: http://gofundme.com/sj8ky8
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