Motor Tic

My older brother Michael is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. My relationship with him has been the main focus of my blog when I began in 2013.  He is never too far from my conscious thought even though I haven’t seen him in quite a while. [My post,  The Visit , was the last time I saw Mike – please note that it may contain some trigger words due to sadness and frustration; no disrespect was intended.] Mike has influenced my outlook on life even though he doesn’t know who I am. Perhaps I wasn’t perceptive enough to recognize an acknowledgement from his private world.

Mike always used to whack himself in the head with one hand and bite the other one. Late in his life, at a group home, one of the doctors diagnosed him with Tourette’s Syndrome. If this was a correct diagnosis, the violence he committed on himself was not a behavior, but a ‘complex motor tic‘.

Autistic Mike hitting himself

My sketch below frames  Mike’s actions as a mechanism, not a behavior. If he does have a form of Tourette’s, what causes it? If he does not, what triggers his behavior?

Watercolor: Abstract Expressionistic Tourette Tic

Motor Tic
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Block

4 thoughts on “Motor Tic

  1. My 13 year old bites his index finger when he is upset. It looks the same as in the photo. He also use to hit himself in the head. That stopped once he got more verbal. I asked him if he could tell me why he bite himself. He said it makes him feel better. He seems to do this mostly when he is unable to verbalize what he is feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marianna. I guess that there’s a lot of frustration involved in not being able to verbalize. Hard to imagine how hitting would make him feel better. Glad he was able to tell you.
      Thanks again!


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