Duncan McKinlay, Ph.D was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome (TS) at the age of nineteen, however, like many other individuals who receive a late diagnosis, he knew something was not quite right by the age of a seven. If you also have Tourette syndrome, as you read, Nix Your Tics! Eliminate Unwanted Tic Symptoms: A How-To Guide For Young People by Dr. Duncan McKinlay you are motivated to follow his steps to get rid of bothersome tics one at a time. This is the self-help book parents and youth coping with Tourette syndrome must have.
From the first line in this how-to book, “Hey Got Tics? Me too. Welcome to the club.”, the reader really feels like a welcomed club member. The club by Duncan McKinlay, Ph.D., created is the Leaky Brakes Club. Leaky brakes is how he explains tics and the other symptoms that often go along with tics.
Dr. McKinlay, the psychologist with Tourette himself, is the perfect mentor for all these families looking for guidance about all things Tourette! He describes the purpose of his book as a book to help young people learn to stop bothersome tics and twitches (such as those found in Tourette Syndrome) and other nervous habits. His book shares management techniques, teaches behavioral treatments (habit reversal training, CBIT), fosters a positive attitude, and provides hope.
What Are Tourette Syndrome Tics?
From Dr. McKinlay’s web site we can read his explanation about the behavioral treatments he wrote about, “Thinking of tics in Tourette Syndrome as “involuntary” is sometimes confusing since it is known that most people with Tourette can develop some degree of control over their symptoms using behavioural treatments like habit reversal training or the Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT). People with Tourette Syndrome vary in their capacity to suppress (from seconds to hours at a time), and may seek a secluded spot to release their symptoms after delaying them in school or at work. Typically, tics increase as a result of tension or stress, and decrease with relaxation or concentration on an absorbing task. Tics can be managed with medication and/or with the aforementioned alternative behavioural treatments – habit reversal training or CBIT. CBIT combines habit reversal training with psychoeducation, relaxation techniques, social support, and functional interventions to provide an alternative treatment for tics that has been found to be as effective as pharmacotherapy.”
*On Dr. Dunc’s Canadian based web site, Life’s A Twitch, we see that Tourette syndrome is also called Tourette’s Syndrome or Tourette’s Disorder and it is a disorder (not an illness) influenced by neurological, psychological, and sociological factors. Dr. McKinlay is committed to improving the lives of individuals with Tic Disorders and other disorders and conditions that may be comorbid with Tourette syndrome like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) or “rage”, Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD), Learning Disabilities, depression and anxiety.
Features I Like About Nix Your Tics!
I love the way Dr. McKinlay “has a casual chat” with the child with Tourette syndrome, just as if they were sitting on the family couch. His message is upbeat and he delivers it with humor. The 144 page pocket book is very easy to read and recommended for ages 12 and older. Some younger than 12 may also be ready for it. To top it off, you will appreciate the handy back-of-the-book information, summaries of the steps mentioned, worksheets, blank note taking space and lists of great resources.
He shows the normies’ (regular “normal” people) point of view about tics and how the normies’ good brake systems work. For many kids with Tourette, this might be the first time this is explained to them. The message he conveys is that normies can be okay once you understand them, and once you have given them a chance to understand you.
Dr. McKinlay, or Dr. Dunc as he is also called, arms the individual with Tourette with tips on how to tell normies about TS and tics, which will, in turn make his life better. Building their self-worth throughout the book, Dr. Dunc points out the flip sides of Tourette. He points out, “People in our club who have done exceptionally well in life, and shaped our world and history in some magnificent ways.” Dr. McKinlay being one of these individuals.
Medication, tic suppression and tic management (CBIT) are clearly explained in his book, Nix Your Tics! Eliminate Unwanted Tic Symptoms. Readers are shown how tic management will put them in the driver’s seat and will help allow them to eliminate any deep rooted tics…one tic at a time.
My daughter, inventor of Kid Companions Chewelry, has Tourette syndrome and has managed to do suppress some tics. Also only diagnosed at age 19, she unknowingly used some of the “Nix” strategies to function in social settings while growing up. This has further convinced me that Dr. Dunc has something going here. Pierrette, with academic accommodations in school and university, is now a successful business owner and the mother of three little girls.
Need more proof? These findings are reported in the May 19th 2010 issue of JAMA. The Journal Of the American Medical Association — Behavior Therapy for Children With Tourette Disorder. Results from a new randomized trial show that children with Tourette’s syndrome and chronic tic disorders have greater improvement in tics and tic-related impairment with comprehensive behavioral intervention than with supportive therapy and education.
“Historically, Tourette’s syndrome has been treated with antipsychotic medications, which reduce tics but are associated with side effects that often limit their usefulness in children,” lead author John Piacentini, PhD, from the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a statement. “So the development of an effective nonmedication treatment for children with this disorder is a major therapeutic advance.”
With early diagnoses and teaching early coping strategies like those in Nix Your Tics!, children with tic disorders will have, like the book states:
“ an attitude of positive self-acceptance you’ve hopefully picked up from this book…”
About the Author
Dr. Duncan McKinlay is a registered Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario, practicing with children and adolescents in the areas of clinical and school psychology. He is currently working for the Child and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI) in London, Ontario, Canada.
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