Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. They live with their mom, Mary, who is the writer of this blog. Jacob is 19 and is now four inches taller than his mom! He also has ADHD and gorgeous red hair. He is a freshman at a technical college studying computer maintenance. Elijah is 15! He is in 9th grade and he is not in ROTC at his high school. He also had red hair, but it is lighter and not as thick as his brother's hair. He is hearing impaired(auditory neuropathy) and wears two cochlear implants. He also has tourette syndrome, ADHD, OCD and anxiety! Mary just started her 25th year as a teacher of the deaf. She is also in her last semester of graduate school to be a diagnostician! She will graduate in December of 2015!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I have been doing a lot of research on Tourette Syndrome(TS) lately. I have been talking to others about TS and how to best help Elijah with it. I have been trying to think of a way to explain it to Elijah’s teacher, as well as others, so they can understand how tics affect his behavior. He started a new medication for tics and it has been a big help. He still has tics, of course, but they are not as extreme as they have been in the last few weeks. Behavior has been much improved with the improvement of tics. I am seeing more tics at home, but that is fine! Home is a safe place.

So I was thinking about how best to explain how tics affect behavior and I thought of hiccups. We have all had hiccups at some point in our lives and we know how annoying they can be. Imagine having hiccups for several hours and not being able to get rid of them. You may be trying to sleep or work and you can’t even focus because you are hiccupping. Imagine if you had to give a speech with these hiccups or try to read a book. I have had hiccups so strong that my chest actually jerks. This is what I imagine a tic(s) to be like for a person with TS. They have these tics and they are just annoying. The key thing to notice here is TICS with an /s/ on the end, most people don’t have just ONE tic at a time. The tics cannot be controlled and this person is trying to read, write, give a speech or just type on the computer. It gets annoying and frustrating and then someone says something to you. You overreact and snap at them in a rude way. This is how I imagine tics affecting behavior. Maybe I am wrong, but it is the closest explanation I can think of explaining this in writing!

I did go to a workshop that attempted to demonstrate what one tic and one compulsion may be like and it was interesting, but not easy to explain to someone. You really have to do it in person to best demonstrate it. Needless to say that during this exercise at the workshop many of us became frustrated and some people even quit.

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