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, August 14, 2010

Two Day Conference I Attended

I am the coordinator of the deaf educaiton department for the school district I work in. We are a regional program and service a large rural area. Because of this, I attend a lot of meetings and conferences. The First Texas Early Hearing Detection Intervention Conference was held in Dallas, TX over the last two days. I was lucky enough to attend. I got to see many colleagues and friends I have made during my career. I also get to hear some really great speakers!

I don't want to get into the conference topics in regards to my job, because this is my personal blog. However, one speaker today spoke about FAMILY SUPPORT when a child is born deaf into a family. Well I am one of those families, and much of what she said I identified with and made me start thinking. It was like someone turning on a light and seeing things for the first time. I was aware of these things, but wasn't aware, does that make sense?

I have always known about parents going through the grieving process when they have a child with any disability, but I learned a few other things. This speaker said it changes the family dynamics and it really does. Your life begins to focus on doctor's appointments, speech therapy, AV therapy, learning sign(just depends on what you chose), decisions about amplification, using visuals to get your child's attentions and so on. If you have other children, their lives get turned upside down also. All the hopes and dreams you have for that child change also.

I really enjoyed this speaker. She was deaf herself and now has a cochlear implant. She said that her hsuband always tells people, "I didn't know I was a hearing person until I met my future wife!" and if he is with a group of deaf people he tells them, "I am hearing. I was raised oral!" She really had a great perspective on growing up deaf and how it affected her mother and family and how it affects her family even now!

I used to wonder, what my life would be like if Elijah had not been born deaf. It still crosses my mind from time to time, but not for long. He is who he is and I am who I am because of him....and of course, because of Jacob. Everyday is a new beginning and a new chance to teach him something new or for him to teach me....or for us to educate others about hearing loss.

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