Ep. 136: Understanding and Treating Tics with Dr. Kim Edwards

Jun 6, 2023 | 0 comments

We have talked about many different topics on the Diverse Thinking Different Learning Podcast, but today’s topic of conversation is a new one. Although a new topic, it is a concern for many parents.

Today we are talking about tics and our guest is an expert in this area. I’m thrilled to invite Dr. Kim Edwards to the show to talk about tics and Tourette Syndrome. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dr. Edwards, and her expertise in this area provides so many families with the education and empowerment they need to manage their tics in a healthy way.

Tics are more common than you think. Dr. Edwards explains just how common they are in children, and she discusses ways we can help them manage the behavior. It’s an interesting and uplifting conversation that you won’t want to miss.


Show Notes:

[2:32] – Tics are rapid and repetitive movements or sounds. Dr. Kim Edwards shares some of the common motor and vocal tics.

[3:35] – Some tics are part of normal development in childhood.

[4:55] – Dr. Edwards compares the relief of a tic to scratching a mosquito bite. People with tics who try to suppress it compare it to holding their breath.

[6:34] – Tics are not something that kids and adults want to do. It is not a choice and they struggle suppressing the urge.

[7:48] – Tics love attention but sometimes responding to a tic establishes a connection and can make it worse.

[9:55] – A common question from parents is “Will my child have this tic forever?” Some will pass, but some may experience more chronic tics.

[11:30] – We cannot underestimate the power of education and understanding for families and the child themselves.

[13:06] – There are environmental factors that play a role in the waxing and waning of tics.

[14:06] – The swearing tic is actually very rare contrary to popular belief.

[15:05] – It is possible for tics to be a part of ADHD or OCD.

[16:23] – Tics don’t hurt the brain and because they aren’t impairing, there is no need to intervene unless it is harmful or bothersome to the individual.

[17:37] – Dr. Edwards describes Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT).

[19:34] – CBIT is a management strategy, not a cure. There is no real way to make a tic go away completely and some new tics might pop up.

[21:25] – There are medications that are possibly needed for intervention, but they are less impactful on targeting tics and have some side effects.

[23:07] – What are sudden onset explosive tics?

[24:32] – Functional tics are a little different. It is thought that increased stress and screen time during COVID led to an increase.

[25:56] – Dr. Edwards has found that CBIT does not help individuals with functional tics.

[28:53] – People, especially kids, need to understand how their brain works.

[30:54] – When kids understand their brains, they can advocate for themselves and be a part of the conversation. Don’t underestimate the power of involving your child.

[32:27] – Going through hard things builds resilience and challenges cannot be avoided.

[35:31] – Dr. Edwards shares an analogy that helps parents realize that the journey they are on with their child is wonderful.


About Our Guest:

Dr. Kim Edwards is a registered clinical and health psychologist in the Province of Ontario and the State of New York. Dr. Edwards specializes in the assessment and treatment of repetitive behavior disorders. She is one of only three Canadian Psychologists who can certify other health care professionals in Comprehensive Behavioural Intervention for Tics (CBIT) – the behavioral treatment for tic disorders. After receiving her PhD from the University of Western Ontario, Dr. Edwards completed a 1-year clinical residency and a 2-year fellowship specializing in pediatric neuropsychiatric disorders at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. While at SickKids, she co-developed and ran the hospital’s first groups for youth with tics and Body Focused Repetitive Behavior disorders. After her fellowship, Dr. Edwards worked at McMaster Children’s Hospital where she was a founding member of the pediatric chronic pain program and an assistant clinical professor in the department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences.


Connect with Dr. Kim Edwards:

Links and Related Resources:


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.