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!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Raising a Deaf Child Who Hears

Elijah is a deaf child who hears with his cochlear implants. He functions very well with them, so much so, that at times you almost forget that he is deaf. This is great, of course, but then there are times when he cannot hear. This is all compounded by his tourette syndrome, OCD and ADHD also. When his "ears" are off he is even louder than his usual self and harder to discipline. It is like he knows he can't hear and so he acts up even more.

Many in my family forget Elijah is deaf when his "ears" are off. They continue to talk to him at the pool and then realize "DUH, he can't hear." Weclome to my world. When he bathes we communicate well, except for the constant, "mom, mom, MOOOOM, mom, mom, mom...." that comes from the bathroom at times. I may be in the middle of something and can't quite get to him and usually it is NOT an emergency just him wanting to tell me something. This same thing happens at bedtime. There are times when I am tired of hearing my name. I waited a LONG time for him to talk....A LONG TIME, and now sometimes I wish for least for a bit!

Tonight was the final straw. We went to my dad's house to swim. No one was home, so I needed to start the filter. I went in to the house to start it and can hear him just yelling for me over and over again. With his ears on I had told him I was going in to turn on the pool and he had taken his ears off after that. Here we go again with the constant, "MOM, mom, mom, mom...." over and over again. I get outside and he yells at me in a gruff voice to turn on the blowers in the hot tub. My stepmom was on the phone with me telling me how to do it and I was signing to him that I was going to turn them on, but he keeps yelling. I wasn't swimming and was just going to watch him swim. He did fine and played well in the hot tub area. He then yelled at me about losing something in the pool and not having his goggles. ARG. Almost every time we go swimming, even when we discuss behavior prior to him removing his ears, the same thing happens. He yells about something and just gets irrate. I know this is due to his other conditions but it is frustrating nevertheless.

We are planning a swim party with his friends in a few weeks and I just cannot have all of this at the pool. I have seen where others have waterproofed their child's CI processors to swim and I decided it was time. I ordered an Aloksak bag(waterproof) and a lycra swim cap. We will try it with one ear only and with his backup processors. I think if he could hear while swimming many of these behaviors would cease.

Dealing with Eiljah's hearing has not always been easy, but we have dealt with it and handled it. Dealing with his tourettes, OCD and ADHD on top of it has been the most difficult. Hoping to get these in the mail and hoping he will tolerate trying this. I asked him about swimming with is processors and he said NO, he knows they cannot get wet. Well, if he wants to swim he is going to have to try.

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