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!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Things are going well!

Things are going well here at the Shaddox household. Jacob is still enjoining ROTC and earned four ribbons first semester. One if for having a high GPA and another one is for good attendance. He was one of just a few cadets to get all four ribbons.ROTC has really been a good fit for him. He plans on being in ROTC for all four years of high school. I need to ask him about his other class choices for next year. He was out with the flu for four days last six weeks and that made it hard for him to keep his grades up, but he managed!

Elijah is doing well. He had a great week last week at school and started off with another good day today. He is doing well at home and we continue with the ticket reward system. He really likes earning the tickets and buying computer or Wii time with them. We just started using Netflix with the Wii and he is so smart and figured out how to get to the movies and such. He probably knows how to run it better than me at this point!

Work is keeping me very busy! I am driving a LOT and it seems that more and more deaf and hard of hearing students are turning up on my doorstep! I guess it is job security. Sometimes the driving gets old, but it isn't too bad. I have been taking some books on CD to listen to and that helps some! Sometimes I am busy on the phone even when I am in the car. I think all three of us are ready for spring break. I have several appointments during that week for the boys to see doctors, but nothing too time consuming....except for the pulmanologist. That is usually at two hour visit, if not longer!

I am also doing some mystery shopping on the weekends to bring in some extra money. It isn't too difficult and is actually pretty interesting at times! I hope everyone else is doing well!!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Language Development--Question Stage

It is a lot of fun to listen to Elijah these days and see what he comes up with when he is talking. He hit the question stage of language development about a year ago. I noticed it when he started it with the WHY questions!! He was like a 3 year old asking WHY WHY WHY about everything. He now listens to conversations and will chime in with a question. A friend of ours had a birthday the other night and we had cake! He asked her, "What year born you?" I corrected his question to, "What year were you born?" He repeated it and she answered. He then asked me the same question and his brother. Later that night he asked about his dad's birthday.

He seems more inquisitive these days and really wanting to know more about what happens around him. He doesn't mind repeating when I correct his grammar. I am glad to see that he is in this stage. I marvel daily at his vocabulary and his grammar skills. He has come a long way.

Quick update to on behavior...HE had a GREAT week at school!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Update on Behavior

Elijah is doing well these days. He had good days on Thursday and Friday of last week and another good day today. There was no school yesterday! He and brother did well home alone yesterday. Jacob is almost 15 and more than capable of babysitting his brother, thank goodness!!

The reward system continues to go well. He uses his tickets to "pay" for time on the computer or Wii. He is doing jobs around the house to earn tickets. Tonight I told him his time was up on the Wii and he said, "yes m'am" and got off of the Wii. That earned him a ticket!!! I try to add those tickets in randomly when he is really good!

I am hoping this behavior continues for a while! I also have got to remember to be consistent with tickets and discipline. It is easy to let up when things are going well and things get worse and it is because I have backed off!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Endocronologist Visit!

Elijah and I went down to Children's in Dallas to see the Endocronologist! We go down every six months or so to check on his growth. He only grew an inch since August and gained about six pounds. This is a slow down in growth and so he has short stature! He is not real concerned yet, but we are definitely going to be keeping an eye on his growth. Elijah did well with the visit but didn't like having to have blood drawn, but the woman was very nice and just pricked his finger to get the blood sample! He also had an X-ray done to check his bone growth!

I made his next appointment for July! At least it will be in the summer! Traffic was awful on the way home this afternoon! We got down to Dallas in 45 minutes but it took about an hour and a half to get home! I hate driving in traffic!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Update on Elijah and Medication

Elijah's behavior has not been very consistent since he started on the steroid a week ago Monday. I called the doctor and she suggested we up one of his medications while he is on the steroid, so I did. It has taken a few days but he finally had an awesome day today at school. He seems to be back to his old self, for as long as it lasts, which I hope is for a while. He took his last steroid pill last night, but it can stay in his system for a week, so I am going to continue with the extra pill during that time. His cough is at least gone!

This morning he argued about getting dressed, and instead of arguing back I just told him he could go to school in his pajamas. Well, he didn't want to do that so he got dressed!! I so wish his life didn't hinge on how the chemicals in his brain were acting on any given day. He is so remorseful after he has a blow up. I don't even think he understands why he acts the way he does. We just keep working it out and I breathe a little deeper so I can keep my cool. All we can do is just keeping taking it one day at a time!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Medication has done wonders for Elijah. He has been on one medication or another since he was born. Being born prematurely he was on medication to mature his lungs and to close a valve in his heart. He was on medication during his entire NICU/Spec. Care nursery stay to keep fluid off his lungs. He was on this same medication for a year after he came home from the hospital. He also came home on oxygen. He has seen a pulmanologist since the day he came home!

He has been on asthma medications since he was born and these keep him healthy and functioning. I am thrilled at the advances in medication since Elijah's father was a child. He is also on medications for his ADHD, OCD and tics from the Tourette Syndrome. These medications are a bit trickier to regulate and we have had many changes in the last three years since his diagnosis. I am also thankful for the doctor's that prescribe these medications and work with me to keep Elijah mentally strong and safe.

However, sometimes these medications can affect his personality in a way that is not good. He is on steroids and some very strong cough medicine with codeine right now. This makes him quite edgy and he is quick to anger, which is not a good thing for a child with neurological issues. He has had a rough few days at school and at home. I am hoping that by the middle of next week he will be off these medications. He will be on breathing treatments for the next few weeks and those can also affect his behavior.

I am also hoping that it is these meds that are affecting him and we will only have to deal with it for another week or so. I really don't want to have to tweak his other meds, because it is just scarey to do. We never know how it will affect him and he has been doing so well. I'll keep y'all posted.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I stayed home with Elijah today to take him to the pulmanologist. He has had an awful cough for two weeks and we have tried breathing treatments and other meds. We stopped at Target on the way to buy some cat litter, it was on sale. I decided as we were walking in to get a vanilla latte at Starbucks. After I paid and as I turned around a woman said to me, "I think I know you. Was your son ever at Presby(Presbyterian Hospital) Dallas in the NICU. I looked at her and said, "Yes" as my brain tried to place her. She said, "I am a nurse there, my name is Jenna." Just as she said that my brain put it all together and I reached out and gave her a big hug as I said, "JENNA!!"

That is Jenna in the picture with Elijah on the day he came home from Presby. He was in the NICU for about 2 weeks and then in the special care nursery for another 2 1/2 weeks. Jenna was his nurse in the special care nursery during the day. She had him on pretty much every shift she worked. I have to say she was my favorite nurse during Elijah's entire stay int he hospital.

We sat and chatted right there in Target for about ten minutes. She thought she recognized me and then she saw Elijah with his red hair and his cochlear implants. We had seen her a few times at the NICU reunions that we had attended a few times in the first few years after he was born. She knew he had cochlear implants and remembered we lived in this area. She was amazed at how well he spoke and thought he looked great. I told her a little about his tourette syndrome, OCD and ADHD. She asked where he went to school and we talked about that for a minute. I explained we were on our way to the pulmanologist due to his cough. He really has been very healthy for the last two years! I also told her about this blog, so I am hoping she is reading it and catching up on him.

Seeing Jenna brought back so many memories. It is amazing that we ran into each other at all. I am usually at work during the time we were at Target and it would only be the summer when I might be in there on a weekday at that time. I usually go in on the electronics end of the store, but because we needed cat litter, I went in on the other end of the store. I remember seeing her as we walked in, so the timing on that is just amazing. I tend to think that we weren't meant to run into each other. I tend to think an angel pushed us both in the right direction to let us meet. I needed a real pick me up today and Jenna provided that. I hope she is reading this and knows what an angel she was when Elijah was under her care.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Update on Reward System

We are on day five of the reward system for Elijah and it seems to be working well. He is using more polite words and making better choices. He had two wonderful days at school. He earns tickets for behavior at school too. We are iced in again today!!! He will have to do some things around the house to earn his time for the computer and/or Wii. He has the choice of working on some educational games on the computer to earn some tickets too!!

His cough is still pretty bad. I may take a half a day tomorrow to take him into the pulmanologist. I am giving him breathing treatments pretty steady today to try to knock it out. He seems fine, except for the COUGH! He has had it for two weeks. There is no way to take him in today due to the ice. I already canceled one appointment for today and rescheduled it for next week!

OH I did get to tease Jacob this morning. He was hoping for no school today. He was still asleep at 8:00 and so I went in and said "Hey time to get up to go to school." He replied with REALLY and I said REALLY....he then sat up and started looking around. He saw how light it was outside and looked at me again and I pulled up the blinds to show him the snow. He said, "Thank goodness!" He knew by then school was canceled. This has been the worst winter. In the 20 years I have taught we have NEVER had five snow days!!!

Hope everyone out there keeps warm!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Elijah just got a videophone for the house. He is not really that sign dependent, but a mom in New York who is deaf and has a deaf son with tourette's recently contacted me through email. She wanted for her son and Elijah to be able to communicate about their tourettes. Elijah understands a lot more sign than he uses, and I would like for him to learn a bit more sign! This also allows the other mom and I to be able to chat about our boys. They both seem very alike!!!

I have also been able to talk to a few of my former students using the videophone. It is really neat and Elijah loves to be able to use it. If you are deaf or hard of hearing and use sign language to communicate you can qualify for a free sorenson videophone. Just go to their website at

If you have a videophone and would like to chat, send then leave a comment and we can exchange phone numbers!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reward System!

So Elijah's behavior has been less than desireable for the last few weeks. He argues at hom and at school and then last week started hitting walls on the way to his room for a time out. I have not used a reward system for him for a long time. He was doing well and I just took away the computer or Wii if he misbehaved. Recently though, I have had to take these things away quite a BIT!

After talking to a friend who was over here to witness some of Elijah's behaviors I decided to try tickets AGAIN. He can earn tickets for doing chores, behaving at school, and for responding quickly when asked to do something by me. He then has to use those tickets to get computer, Will and/or Nintendo DS time. Well, we are in to day two and things are going well. He is staying off of the electronics without me having to remove them completely. When his time is up on one of the things he has earned, he is getting off quickly. We found the Time Timer to use so he has a good visual of how much time he has left while playing.

It really will come down to me being consistent with giving him tickets when he earns them and to sticking to the time limits when he choses what he wants to spend his tickets on. I will say, there has been less arguing in the last two days and when he does get irritated he isn't overreacting as much as before.

I'll keep y'all posted on how it goes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Iced in--Day 4

We woke up this morning to 5 inches of snow! Our district had already decided to close for today because we still had ice. The weatherman had predicted a light dusting of snow and here we are with 5 inches. I may try to get out later because I need more mucinex for Elijah's cough and maybe a few supplies. Plus we all just have cabin fever.

I am waiting on a call back from Elijah's pulmanologist. He has had a cough for a week and today it seems worse. I gave him a breathing treatment at 5:30 this morning when I heard him coughing in bed.

I hate to say it but Elijah is on my last nerve. He has become very arguementative and feels like he has to get the last word in. He has been this way for the last two days and is now in his room. He may just be there the rest of the day. I unplugged the Wii and moved it to my closet and have changed the password on the computer. I just don't get WHY it takes so many times for him to learn that back talk and attitude just lead to trouble for him. I am sure it ties in to his tourettes, OCD and ADHD, but it just gets old after a while. I hope I can survive the next two days!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Iced In--Day 3!

Well here we are at Day 3 of being iced in. The schools are closed here in our area, but my district where I work is open....opened two hours late. Not sure what is going to happen tomorrow. We still have a lot of ice here and our schools could be closed again tomorrow, but my district could be open!

The kids are doing OK. Jacob stays in his room, but did come out to eat a frozen pizza I cooked. Tabitha and Elijah are playing well, however Elijah does not have an INSIDE voice. Everything is loud and he seems to get loud every time the baby goes to sleep. He finally had to go to his room so I could rock the baby back to sleep and then stay there for a while!

I have not driven since Monday and have only been to my brother's house one time since then. I don't mind being home, but we can't go anywhere and there is only so much on TV or so many games you can play on the Wii!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 2 of being Iced in, Day 3 coming tomorrow

We woke up this morning to NO power. Thankfully I got to Elijah before he woke up. I was supposed to keep my niece and nephew, so I called my SIL and I took the boys to their house. It was not a fun drive but we made it. We stayed there until about 11:30when a neighbor confirmed the power was back on.

We had rolling blackouts all day due to the heavy demand for electricity last night and today. Many people were caught off guard, including us!

I made it back to my house with the kids and we just stayed in. My fleece shirt is covered in spit up and green beans!. No biggie, but definitely a different kind of day. The district we live in is closed tomorrow, but the district I work in is opening late. However, I won't be going in tomorrow. I'll have my niece and nephew again too! Hoping I can survive one more day home with four kids.

Hoping we don't lose power tomorrow! Hope everyone else is staying warm!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Iced In!

Well, we had ice overnight, so no school for me or the boys. We have a day at home! My district posted the closing last night. I got a call from Elijah's sitter, who works at the bus lot, that Wylie was close around five this morning. Then around 5:15I got an automated call and another at 5:30. Both calls were from Wylie ISD. Well, by then I was UP and couldn't go back to sleep.

I stuck my head out around 6:15 and Elijah was up and had made his breakfast already! Jacob got up a bit after that to eat breakfast, but he is now back in bed. Elijah is watching Toy Story 3 right now! I may go and take a nap after a bit! We may have ice for several days!!