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Tag Archives: Special Needs

What Makes a Good Character?

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Last night I broke out my pilot. It had been about six months since I looked at it and I had a few reactions I wasn’t expecting:

  1. The first two scenes are pretty funny
  2. The second half of act one needs more work than the tile of my 1950’s wackadoo kitchen
  3. Act two is about as together as Sonny and Cher after a few blissful years of marriage

I’ve done enough writing in my past to not worry about the current state of my pilot. I just needed to go back to my outline.

So I did.

The story wasn’t clear enough. And then it became even more clear that in order to have a solid story I need to know more about the characters.  Who are these people, why are they in my script, and what makes them tic?

The Transformation of This Blog

As many of you know, this blog started out as a journey for Tourette Syndrome. Who was my kid and what made him tic? What would his life story be? Would it be a comedy, a tragedy, a giant mystery full of gluten free bread and neurologists?

I started this blog when my son was 4. He’s now 14 and doing very well. (He starts high school next year! He’s six two! Eeeegaaads!)

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The truth is, like most good scripts, his story came out when I gave him time. I wanted a cheeky basketball player. He wanted to be a Vegan animal lover. I wanted a straight A student with a perfectly clean bedroom. He’s an A/B student with a room that looks like Gravity Falls and Harry Potter threw up in it. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine.

When I didn’t force my kid to be anything other than who he was supposed to be, he was able to develop into the kid he’s supposed to be. He has limits and boundaries, but freedom to shine. I will extol that same grace to my pilot.

A Writing Schedule + Freedom = Great Characters (for me and my scripts)

With that in mind, I plan on giving myself some freedom over the summer to get off my crazy work train of a schedule and continue to write.

And read!

In addition to my morning spiritual books, I am toggling between:

one for the money

emotional intelligence

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What Do These Books Have in Common?

Amazing characters and insight. From a Jersey Girl bail bondsman, to an intelligent, fast talking orphan, to fascinating insight on the correlation between IQ and empathy, these books take me in. They make me laugh. And they make me think.

My Next Job Move

As I wonder about what next year holds for me at my current job, I can honestly say that whatever happens it will develop my character. Like the people in the books I am reading now, I will be forced to ask questions like:

  • Why am I making the choices I’m making?
  • What is my definition of success?
  • How can I be me while still contributing to a group? (My family/finances)
  • How can frustration be transcended into personal growth?

In the end, as I develop the character of Andrea, I will pour what I’ve learned into the characters of my pilot. And that, my friends, is really exciting! It’s my favorite kind of script – one where the lead character goes into the unknown with a bit of courage, sass and, hopefully, some humor.

Knock Knock!

Who’s There?

Your Life.

Your Life Who?

Whoeever you want it to be. You got one shot. Make it worth it!

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Special Needs, Dropping Trou and TV Writing

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You may or may not know that I’m a special needs aide for a public middle school. I’m not sure what is further from my Hollywood writing days of yore – working at a middle school or working with kids like Midu, who only know 50 words of Hindi, no English and are more comfortable dropping trou in front of me than the time “Actor Who Won’t be Named” thought it was perfectly acceptable to unzip his pants while I was handing him pink rewrite pages.

Checking out the package (and not the one I was delivering) I almost said,”Not the pink I was expecting to see.” Instead I went with, “Craft service has mini hot dogs! See you on set!”

Back to Midu, who is just learning his ABC’s, I can’t help but think of my days on set. Similar to my days in the writers room, there’s a beautiful synergy that happens over the lunch tables. We laugh a lot. We tell stories. We trade food. “I’ll give you my apple slices for your tahini!” Granted, I can’t understand a word this kid is saying, but half of the director’s notes went over my head also.

The facts are, when it comes down to it, there’s nothing some hand movements, head nods and a good dose of humor can’t solve. At the end of the day, like with a brutal rewrite, as long as no one has wet themselves in the process and we’ve all had a good laugh, it’s a day well done.

As I dip my toe into the water of teaching higher level special ed next year, I’m excited about the possibilities of having even more impact with kids. Like my home for my own kids, the classroom will be a safe place for my school kids… a place to know that… for a few hours a day… they can take a break from whatever is going on in their own houses and rewrite their life script. Some kids I’ll reach, some kids I won’t. (One kid I work with uses all day to sleep. As long is it’s not someone I’m pitching a show to, I don’t take it personally.)

In the end, though…when thinking about teaching… there’s also this 47 year old kid who has a small fire inside her gut. It’s a desire that says, “While you’re helping your kids achieve their dreams, don’t forget yours.”

What’s mine? I want to get into TV again. It’ll take time. I will need to use summers to write my scripts and school nights to network here and there. But I’m ready. I’m setting a goal to apply for a Warner Bros. Writing program 2018 – 2019. I’ll need two spec scripts. Grace and Frankie, here I come! (I’ll get Grace into rehab even if it’s only on paper!)Wish me luck!

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And after dealing with the Midus of the world, I will have stories.

Until next time, tell me about you. What is your dream?

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Shame, Peace and Ostrich Eggs

In my last post I talked about shame. You might be familiar with the feeling.

“I’m not doing enough for my kids.”

“I am not making enough money.”

“My house isn’t clean enough.”

“I used to be a contender.”

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If you’re anything like me, you can do a pretty good job at keeping the tiger in the cage. You exercise. You pray. You keep a schedule. You try to let things go.

But sometimes you just have a day.

And that was my day Friday. Sure, I had missed the ONE day to test into full time employment – putting full time insurance off another month – but I gave myself grace. (“If the kids lose a leg, there’s always the county hospital.”)

Yeah, my bank account was running perilously low, but a check was going to land in my box on Friday. (“The kids are vegetarians now. A few cans of beans will sustain until pay day.”)

Alright, a huge vacation wasn’t going to happen this Spring Break, but I was blessed to have a friend give me a two night stay at her time share for $64 total. It was something I was looking forward to all week.

LOTS OF GRATITUDE!

And then I got a note – a terrifying note – from a friend I work with regarding permission to attend an out-of-district school that Stink had also applied to. Both our kids were accepted into the school, but it wasn’t in our district. We needed permission to transfer out – and that would take some work.

No worries! In true Andrea fashion, I pulled out all the stops to apply for this out of district permit – including gleaning a personalized acceptance letter from the high school secretary, to tracking down a fellow mom who had been through this with her own kids.

Based on fellow mom’s adventure through hell the Los Angeles school system, I knew in advance that I would be denied a permit and would have to appeal. I was nervous, but trusted the process. I told my friend at work that this would happen and, to save her the headache that the fellow mom from that school saved me, I told her what to do.

Only problem? Her kid got approved on the first go around. No appeal needed. This was not the case with Stink. Yup, lucky me – Not only was he denied a permit, I found out the lovely news an hour before my trip that Stink probably would not get the appeal approved because they are only taking theater kids this year. Stink applied for tech.

I was totally calm. Just like this!

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I calmly and rationally trusted in the Lord Jesus with all my heart, soul and strength. My heart hit my knees, I pooped a brick and belly cried like a drunk seal to my unsuspecting sister on the phone.

In my heart, I know that this is just high school. It’s not that he has cancer.

But in my head, it was the old shame tapes that played with his diagnosis. “You did something wrong,” they taunted me. “Your kid isn’t good enough.”

In my book, I recall a scene where all but one kids from Stink’s preschool got into a prestigious Catholic grade school. Stink was the one who didn’t make the cut. Which, well, sucked.

In fury, I made an appointment with the principal. (Note: In the book, I refer to Stink as Nicky.)

Excerpt from Chapter 3 – CinemaTIC

After finally being lead into the principal’s office, I was informed that Nicky didn’t grasp his pencil correctly in the interview process.

“You’ve got to be kidding…” I started to balk, but before I could continue she added, “He seems a bit immature.”

After peeling myself off the floor and holding back my urge to scream our Lord’s name—and not because there was a lovely oil painting of Christ hanging behind this woman’s head—I told her how disappointed I was. “He’s five. He’s not supposed to be mature. And why does it matter if he can grip a pencil correctly? Isn’t this what he’s supposed to learn in kindergarten?”

She gave me a fakey-compassionate half-smile. “His lack of coordination is disconcerting. It implies he’ll need some special attention that we just can’t give when there are thirty kids in the classroom and only one teacher.”

To which I responded, “With a ratio like that, why would I want to spend six grand a year on his schooling?”

To which she responded, “For the Christian education.”

“Oh, yeah, I can really feel God’s love here.”

And with nothing but a few cursory closing statements, I walked out of that office, enrolled my son in a public charter school, and have never looked back. It’s not as fancy as the private school of my dreams. But behind peeling paint is a structure built on joy that fosters creativity, self-worth and joy beyond my wildest expectations. And guess what: It’s FREE. Plus the student-to-teacher ratio is twenty-four to one. Jesus would be proud.

After firing off yet another letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District about why my son deserves entrance into that high school, it dawned on me that perhaps going insane was not the answer.

Perhaps my shame did not have to run the show.

Perhaps this “amazing” school for my kid is not to be, despite my best efforts.

Maybe, just maybe, if I can let go of the expectations I have for sweet Stink and allow what God wants for him, life just might be a bit more manageable.

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I can confirm that this thinking is correct because two things happened this weekend.

  1. My son told me quite calmly, “Mom, it’s not a big deal. If I get in, I get in. If I don’t, I’ll just to Big Scary Neighborhood School and I’ll survive.”
  2. We went to Ostrich Land over our weekend. It’s hard to live in shame when you’re feeding prehistoric beasts and sticking your head in germ infested wooden cutouts.d.jpg

The Moral of the Story

What we think has to happen for our happiness and security keeps shame front and center. Letting go and letting God direct the show keeps peace and laughter in the forefront.

The second option is so much better.

May your joy this week be like an ostrich egg: large and nourishing! (Did you know ostrich eggs are the equivalent of 30 chicken eggs? It’s true!)

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Special Needs, Shame and Growing Up

By the title, I’d love to tell you that this post is all about my son. That I’m this awesome mom of a kid who tics and, despite his twitches and occasional shakes, I’m helping him work past his shame. You see, he’s growing up. In Stink’s case, literally. (He’s 6 foot 1. I’m in heels. He’s estimated to be SIX FOOT NINE. Um… I’m so okay with this no big deal sheesh dying on the inside a little bit each day.)

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You see, a well balanced mother… one with a full time job and freelance side job and a walk with Jesus and recently turned 37 47-year-old mother should be happy that her son is healthy.

Oh yes, he still tics. He does this head jerking up down/up down/arm thrust/arm thrust shaky shake every minute or so. He warbles a bit when he talks. But most people don’t notice it. And, more importantly, he doesn’t care.

I am quite certain many of you moms of tickers want to slap me. I know that many of your kids suffer from worry about their symptoms. I can say two things about the Tourette Syndrome diagnosis over the past 10 years:

  1. I can’t take credit for his confidence. I’ve sometimes been a real jerk.
  2. Sometimes I wish he were bugged a bit. It means I could offer him some supplements… some CBD oil… some new diet or medication or meditation or unicorn sperm to just calm. it. down.

But that’s not the real rub (not the unicorn sperm). The real rub is that when I can’t focus on changing tics, my husband, my daughter, my mother, my neighbors or my entitled pit bull, I can only focus on myself.

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This takes on a lot of different forms.

  • Manic busyness
  • Too much concentration on work (work I have, work I want, work I’m behind on)
  • Picking fights over stupid things (“The way you chew that food. Is it necessary?”)
  • Obsessive thinking (Most people have 4000 thoughts 4 times/day. When I’m anxious, I get 4 thoughts 4000 times/day. I’m lucky that way.)
  • Mood swings (8am – My job is awesome! 8:03 – Oh everyone can suck it and die!)
  • High highs and low lows

Lest you think I’m possibly bi-polar, one of my other amazing qualities is being neurotic. I’ve been down this road before, and anyone who knows me, or read my book, knows that I saw a shrink for anxiety. I’m definitely not bi-polar. I’m just a fairly intelligent writer who thinks to much, feels too much and is a bit on the shock controlling side. (I have lots of great qualities, too, but rather than see the prior list as “bad” and my generosity, humor and love of people as “good,” I’m attempting to see both sides as simply part of me. It’s the way I’m wired. God made me this way, so it must be good enough.)

Sorry, Mom

I write all this not to have my mother sit in her home office and shake her head with sighs of “Dear, Jesus, how did a calm Bostonion like me give birth to such a transparent wacka-do?” I say this because I’m pretty sure the only difference between someone like me, and others who don’t say it like it is, is that I’m attempting to be brave enough to admit I don’t always have it all together.

  • I worry about money.
  • I worry about not spending enough time with extended family.
  • I worry about my kids growing up too fast.
  • I worry about what other people think about me.
  • I worry about my husband’s job.
  • I worry that I shouldn’t worry about any of the things above this bullet point and I still do which means all these years of therapy and AA must mean I’m really more screwed up than I realize OH MY FRIGGIN A THIS SUCKS.

Oh, Wait, There’s Good News!

Yes, there is Good News on a biblical level. (My faith walk is so helpful. But this is not a Jesus post. Especially with a half naked woman in a cone bra right below the good Lord’s name. Though I’m sure Jesus would find her cute. He was a man after all! And don’t give me the “He’s gay he hung out with 12 men” speech because I call about 20 women/day and that doesn’t make me a dyke on a bike but, thanks to my obsessive mind, now I have something new to concentrate on. Hooray!)

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The good news is, like a random blue sock in a pile of white laundered gold toed stallions, I see the source of what ails me and drives my need to focus on others instead of myself.

The bad news? That sock is nothing but good old fashioned shame. Shame that reminds me that there’s this wee wee piece left of “you’re not good enough” left from some random experiences I had who knows when back in my childhood.

The good news is that, knowing I have old tapes in my head, there is healing. The good news is that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I’m not the only one. My friends admit their shame. My close family members share it with me. Heck, random people in Costco tell me about it while we’re in line for five dollar rotisserie chicken. “I’m sorry I got so cranky just there,” one woman told me. “I have terrible anxiety about being late for dinner as a kid on the farm and it manifests itself in hormone injected poultry.” (I can’t make this crap up.)

Not Admitting It Doesn’t Make It Not Real

I don’t want to admit I have shame anymore than that blue sock feels comfortable in a pile of crisp white matching show off socks. (I hate them! Their perfect pairs! Their no hole perfection! Damn them all!) But knowledge is the first step toward freedom.

Tourettes – My Ticket to Freedom

Maybe like me you have a child with Tourettes and you’re scared. Maybe your child has a different disability. Maybe you have no children with disabilities but you think that maybe you might relate to my big “I have issues” proclamation.

If so, you’re welcome here. April is Shame Month on Happily Ticked Off! And that’s no April Fools joke! Lets talk about it. Lets support each other. And let’s have a few laughs.

If my ticking, estimated to be 6’9, goof ball son can deal with a disability shame free, then we can, too!

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(I hope Luna, the dog my son pets over the fence every day on the way to school, doesn’t have a “No Media” policy.)

Lets use our “special needs” as a ticket to stop focusing on what isn’t the issue (the disability) and get to the root of what is.

Until then,

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Learning to Be Content – 1 Grunt at a Time (Mine, Not My Kid’s)

 

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In my quest to adjust to life as a working mom, there’s a lot I haven’t done, including writing here.

Because I am lazier than the gajillion people who refused to get out and vote this election season hate to reinvent the wheel, I thought I’d share something I sent to a friend today. She was on my  mind because, being a good self-indulgent product of the eighties, I’m on my mind a lot. And since I somehow live more peacefully in my Starbuck’s infested/doing too much/oh crap/I forgot to apply to high schools for my kid and now he’s going to be stuck at our local feeder school brain when I think of others, I thought I’d share it with you in case you can relate. (A few words added and deleted for privacy.)

Hi friend – 

Just writing you a quick letter to let you know something my own sponsor said to me today. I call her every morning at 730. If it’s 731 she gets on my case. “You’re late.” It’s annoying and a bit non-graceful. She’s of a different faith than me, a lawyer and pretty much the opposite of overthinking/soft hearted/no boundaries me. But she’s been amazing. She’s like those rubber walls in a pinball machine for me. My emotions get wound back and released high into the game. The ball then falls against those walls and plink! plink! plinks! all over the place. It wants to go straight to the top (that’s where I think the good life is) but it hits those walls. Those walls scream at me, “No. You’re staying right here. Get still. Stop running.” So I do. 
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Today I told her, all in fifteen minutes, how I had all these fears. Fears that I would never land on that TV show or hit the big time to have money to send my kids to private schools and have all these CRAZY FUN experiences if I keep doing what I’m doing as a special needs aide. I need time at night to write again and figure out a way to finish that pilot that’s going to make me that money. (And my book. Whatever happened to that?)
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But then I told her (and this is the truth) that I have never been happier at a job then I am right now. I make a small bit/hour and barely have cash after I buy food for the family and pay some bills, to do anything. And yet, I have people in a community that adore me. That I love right back. That bring me hard boiled eggs from their chicken coop and walk coffee to me on a break. People that have Thanksgiving and Halloween feasts…
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…that have burrito bars for our Hispanic community… arts and crafts and Willy Wonka productions and ridiculous school dances where I get to walk around with eighth graders trailing behind me like baby ducks while Gen Ed kids scream out at me, “Mrs. Frizzle! Mrs. Frizzle! Nice Marilyn Monroe skirt!” (Intentionally refusing to call me Mrs. Frazer based on my… ahem… style of dress.)
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I push wheel chairs and wipe drool and dance with Down Syndrome kids. I am plugged in to love on a daily basis. 
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With that,my life saving sponsor reminded me to remember where I am today. To “Make space between the notes” to be present. She reminded me that sometimes what we think we want is not worth it if where we are we cannot be content.
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As I write this I am still so unsure of my path. Without sounding like a narcissist, writing is where I find so much joy. My blog and my book are my soul. I refuse to lose it. But I’m also thinking that maybe TV isn’t for me. The pushing and shoving for money to validate my ego somehow doesn’t feel as rich as the team work and caring that validates others. I want to live up to my true potential, but what if what “I” thought was supposed to be is not what “God” intended. Is this spiritual enlightenment or just crack talk for the words ‘LOSER at a bigger life.’
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 I’m not sure. But I do know this: There is a peace in doing what I am doing RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Whether that’s painting a snowman with Ethan, my Asperger buddy who can barely read let alone hold a brush, or cooking dinner or having a beautiful Advent for my kids. There is joy in being of service right where I’m at and not flogging myself for being bigger in the world or my bank account. 
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In thinking of my purpose, I must always revisit God’s purpose. In all I do, I must remember the question, “What is my motive?”
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  To quote Paul, 
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“I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.
Hang in.
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Love, Andrea
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If any of you are reading and are not a God person, I still believe God has a purpose for you. If you’re of another faith – or perhaps Christian and think your life should have turned out better because you go to church and help the poor and only buy sheep from catalogs as Christmas gifts for people to sponsor underprivileged villages in South America and have foster kids named Jorge and Wanita Azul – let me remind you that the most Christian of them all hung out with the poor, the wackadoos and died a brutal death. We have to let that fantasy of “I deserve it” go. Life sometimes sucks. Period.
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Tonight, with four tween boys stinking up my house, a pot of rice in the cooker, lights twinkling on my staircase and a husband peacefully watching a show I’d rather die than view, I’m content that it doesn’t suck today.
I hope you are, too.
Here’s to more time here connecting. As always, I’ve missed you.

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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7 Things to Help Reduce Tics!

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Before my book came out I was blogging pretty regularly for the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome. One of the posts that garnered 61 comments was on Five Things that Can Help With Tics.

A few years later, and with more research, I have decided to update the list a bit for new parents who keep writing me with the same question.

Question: How do I fix the tics?

Answer: There is no one-size-fits all answer. Every child is different.

What Can You Do If You’re Freaking Out About Tics? 

I’m no doctor, but after 10 years at this I can passionately state that all kids tic for a variety of reasons. I, personally , didn’t feel medication was the answer right off the bat for my son. It still isn’t. If it got severe enough, of course I would consider it, but so far it has not.

Here’s what I tell all parents who write me with concerns over their ticking kids. I tell them to ask a few important questions – the same ones I asked myself.

Questions to Ask if Your Child is Ticking

  • Could there be vitamin deficiencies happening?
  • What kind of environmental stressors could be worked on? (Less tension at home, less electronics?, etc.)
  • How much sleep is your child getting?
  • What kind of exercise is your child getting?
  • What does your child’s diet consist of?

It’s Up To You!

None of these questions are meant to either shame or suggest there are simple answers for complicated tic issues. Again, each child is different. My suggestion is to go to a naturopath and have your child evaluated for his/her individual condition. If you are low on funds (which I was) you can start with the basics and see if this helps. It helped in our case and I hope it helps in yours!

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5 Things to Help With Tics

  1. Magnesium: I gave my son 500 mg of magnesium a day, and it really helped with his eye rolls and vocals. For some little kids this might be too much, but I’ve been told the worst thing excess magnesium can do is cause diarrhea. Now my son takes a calcium/magnesium supplement as the magnesium is best absorbed with calcium. The ratio is double the calcium to the magnesium.
  2. Gluten Free: It was a pain, but it helped, and continues to help enormously. He can concentrate more and can fall asleep quickly. When he was not gluten free, it would take hours for him to settle down. He is still a high energy kid, but much less so now.
  3. Dairy Free: Ditto the gluten. It was a pain, but we’ve found many ways to supplement his calcium through rice milk, vegetables and fruit.
  4. Sleep: 10 hours of sleep a night is crucial and a huge tic reducer.
  5. No artificial flavors or preservatives: My son is very sensitive to chemicals. They can set tics off like bee around a honey pot. Not worth the sting of excess tics except on special occasions.

2 Other Supplements * Talk to you Naturopath first * 

6. NAC  – Standing for N-Acetylcysteine, this is an amino acid that can be purchased at any vitamin store. This natural supplement acts as an antioxidant and glutamate modulating agent.

According to this webinar, featuring Dr. Mark Mintz, “They (a study) found the N-acetyl cysteine decreased symptoms of trichotillomania (hair pulling) compared to placebo. It makes theoretical sense as NAC can modulate dopamine. So, there are reports that NAC can improve mood disorders as well (such as obsessive compulsive disorder). There needs to be more research and reports to have a better handle on the effects of NAC in Tourette, but it appears to show some promise.”

7. Taurine – I talk about Taurine here. My son is currently on 500 MG but I think he could use 1000. That said, I will talk to my naturopath first!

What have been your experiences with tics? Did any of you find it made a difference for your children? What about in some of your cases where tics were more severe? Would love to hear!

Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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Hippe…Hippie…Hooray!

Hippe…Hippie…Hooray!

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A few friends of mine are getting together in a couple weeks to get some goals accomplished. It’ll be kind of a mini salon, except without the French people and berets. Think moms and dads with pony tails and uni-brows shoving Trader Joe’s taquitos into their pie holes, sipping Diet Coke and downing Two Buck Chuck. (Um, with the crowd I’m known to link arms with, the uni-brows and pony tails describe either the men or the women. No judgement.)

It’s that last part that really gets me scratching my head at times. I truly never expected to be that person who, at 46, was sending out invites to fellow writers and painters to meet on my cull de sac on a Friday evening. I thought I’d be a hip studio climber, hob nobbing with script writers and discussing pilot premieres. And I did.

For a time.

But these days, I find myself less excited over television releases and more thrilled over musical theater releases.

It’s less about show launches and more about the premiere of book launches.

When it comes right down to it, I’m less interested in image. I’m more interested in soul. I’m not a hip person – I’m a hippie!

Many of my friends have gawked at me with my whale backpack, turquoise earrings and enough library books to kill a poodle in a single drop and utter, “Duh! HIPPIE!” But me? This comes as a surprise. Hippie-ness kind of snuck up on me while I was still fast clinging to my ego. And, well, as much as I hate to admit it, my ego was pretty massive. It had me twenty pounds lighter and twenty times richer.

It had me raising kids with hip names like Vida and Jax. These weren’t kids that snuck Hump Day videos on my computer every Wednesday or chastised me for not giving them money to get a fancy dog trainer for our dog. Heck, my ego would not have chosen THIS crazy mutt from the pound in the first place!

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I was supposed to have a yoga body not just because I worked out, but because I could afford yoga classes.

I was supposed to drink Starbucks every day because that’s where I had my writing meetings, not because that was where I worked. Maybe. (Not saying I will or will not be working there, but let’s just say that health benefits at this time do not suck.)

Lest you think I want to live as a modest hippie for the rest of my life, getting hopped up on free Venti White Mochas, I do not. I will not say no to a bigger career if that is what God has for me. I will live in abundance and always work my craft. But for now… when I get really still… when I drown out all those other voices that tell me what I should want, a quiet whisper defiantly rises up reminding me of what I really want.

And I want this.

e

The big, messy, chaotic, impractical, not always perfect but amazing life that I have.

Because on the rare occasion after a hike we take that fabulous family photo…

a

… most days we’re just getting through the day by day with as much joy as possible.

This means turning Costco into an icy adventure.

f

And enjoying family walks to school because both my hubby and I are not working such nutty hours that we can’t enjoy the turning of leaves or a quick wave to Wing, the neighbor, who is so proud of his daughter for getting into UC Irvine. Go Ant Eaters!

c

I want conversations with my son in the front seat of our stinky SUV on the difference between “taking a joke” and “not standing up for oneself” and, when the ticking – which is on a very high upswing these days gets a bit frustrating – I want to put my hand on on his and be grateful for his ticking heart.

 

Embracing what is, not what I wish was, makes my now living wow living. It’s not one I take for granted – even on my super tired, nothing is working, OH FOR DUCK SAKE days.

Along a similar bend,  a new blog I found, Grief Happens, has been talking about meditation these days. It’s been fun to watch her journey. I don’t know if I’ll start a sitting and breathing practice myself, but I’m all for becoming more intentional with who I’m sitting with.

b

And as long as I’m breathing in more peace – even if that means talking art with my friends on a Friday night instead of being at a club or a show premiere this hippie will take it.

Anyone out there find life different than what they expected? I want to hear!

Until next time, may God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you cannot change, the courage to change the tics you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB

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