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!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Team Sports--what it teaches kids

I signed Elijah up for soccer three years ago as a way to teach him social skills and to get him out more with boys his own age. For the last 4 seasons(2 Fall and 2 Spring) he has been with the same team--The Dragons. We were a smaller team when he first started and new boys have come on to the team as they have gotten older. Now he is playing U10 soccer and there are twelve boys on the team. Being on this team has helped Elijah a great deal with social skills and to follow along with others during a game. He is not the greatest player in the world, but is getting better at following with the game and running where he needs to be. Today he got to do a throw in and he did it correctly! I wear a mic and he wears a receiver on each processor so I can talk to him from a distance. It hasn't always been easy, but I think it has been good for him.

Since the beginning of this season I have seen so many boys who work well with Elijah. One night at practice, Elijah was the goalie and one boy, who is a really good player was heading towards the goal. He could have easily have scored on Elijah, but he chose not to kicking it in such a way that Elijah was able to snag it and keep him from scoring. Another boy today during the game, gave directions to Elijah on wear to stand. Elijah did demand to do a throw in and kept getting in one of his own players way. This same boy walked over and said something to Elijah, that made Elijah move and get out of the way. For a nine year old I was quite impressed. None of the boys get upset with Elijah if he misses a kick or isn't paying attention. This same boy always makes a point to talk to Elijah and interact with him. Another new boy on the team is always nice to Elijah and doesn't get upset if Elijah is having an off day and seems to be getting into people's faces(thankfully this doesn't happen much).

All of the parents know of Elijah's issues and are great with him. They don't treat him different and they always tell him he has played a good game. Looking at things now, I think playing soccer has been good for Elijah as well as his teammates. It has taught them acceptance and compassion. Something not easily taught and something I think they need to learn at a young age. I also have to say, his coaches are wonderful. They play him as much as they play the other boys and always high five him when he does a great job. No one minds that I sit with on the coach's side of the field to be close if Elijah has a melt down. I think this has been a good experience for everyone!

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