Jacob and Elijah Shaddox are brothers. Jacob is 21 years old and just moved into an apartment with his girlfriend. He graduated from a technical college with an Associate's degree in Computer Maintenance. He works for a school district as a computer technician. Elijah is almost 18 years old. He is hearing impaired, has Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. He is a junior in high school. Elijah lives with his mom Mary and her wife, his stepmom. Mary has a bachelor's in deaf education and a masters in special education, and is an educational diagnostician. Life is always changing and this blog has chronicled many of these changes and will continue to do so!

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment