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, April 26, 2011

Visit to Doc--update on new medication

So we went to the doctor today to discuss how Elijah is doing on his new medication. I told her how things were going. He seems calmer and to respond better with discipline. He seems to have less aggression. Even she noted his change since she last saw him. We are going to up the dosage by 1 mg, so he will now have 3 mg instead of two. I will wait until Thursday to start him on the new dosage though, because tomorrow is state testing. Upping the dosage could make him sleepy and that wouldn't be good on a day he has to take an important test....although I don't like the testing, he still has to take it.

I think upping the medication will be a good thing. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

IEP Meeting Today

We had Elijah's three year re-evaluation IEP(in Texas they are called ARD) meeting today. We briefly discussed his evaluations and that was OK with me, because my main concern was next year. I had some concerns and I don't want to get into all the details, but lets just say I wasn't sure how things were going to go. He has been in a behavior class for almost 2 1/2 years, which has worked, but I wanted him out of it. It really isn't appropriate for a kid with tourette syndrome.

I don't think his teacher was very happy with all that transpired, she was rather quiet. The principal from his new school was there as well as his current principal. We had a long discussion on the schedule of services page. Elijah will have resource English/Reading and Math. He will also have a social skills for about 20 minutes a day. He will be in a co-teaching class for his science and social studies and then have his other classes out. Now I am concerned about the transition between classes, where he will go when he gets to school(he will have to ride the bus next year) and those mainstream classes. We discussed several plans we might put in place, and I will want to see what is decided upon before school starts. The "plan" would be about what happens if he starts ticcing a lot and gets agitated, or if he just gets agitated in general.

We then discusses his deaf ed. itinerant teaching time. Well, the principal from the new school about flipped out when she saw 120 minutes a week of pull out. HOW would this affect his time in the core classes, we would have to rearrange everything. OH MY. I guess she has never had an itinerant kid before. The 120 minutes is broken up into 3 40 minute sessions. He still needs that time with his deaf ed. teacher and I was not going to back down on that time. I think the new principal finally GOT the concept and agreed to it.

I plan on taking Elijah up to the school over the summer and getting some video of him at the school. I know it will be a hard year. I don't expect it to be perfect starting on day one. We will have some bumps along the way, but as long as everyone is trying, well we can work with that. I'll find out come September, I guess!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What about that new medication?

So Elijah has been on this new medication for almost two weeks now. I do think it has made a difference in his aggression level. I haven't heard much from the school and I haven't asked. We have his IEP meeting on Monday and I figure I will ask then. I have been emailing the principal and diagnostician about his current FIE(Full Individual Evaluation) that I received from them. For whatever reason, Tourettes was left off of his OHI(other health impaired) form and I noticed that and want them to get that fixed. That means they have to resubmit a form to the doctor.

I really don't want to be a real pain in the rear, but I have to advocate for my child. I want him out of the behavior unit. Thankfully, I have my friends at work who have given me lots of great advice on what to ask for at this next IEP meeting. Next year Elijah will move to a new campus and this will be a huge transition for him. I want things to go as smoothly as possible.

I'll let you all know how it goes!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Medication again!

So I get a phone call from Elijah's teacher on Thursday that he had, in her words, a "horrific" day. He has been "off" for two weeks in his behavior. Now this is the first I am hearing of it. He has a checklist that comes home daily and there has been nothing on there about him being "off" like this. He has gotten check marks in the good, fair and poor categories, but no notes about anything specific. We then got into a discussion about next school year.

One of my concerns about him being in a behavior class is that it really isn't appropriate for a kid with tourettes. He has a neurological condition that causes some of his issues. Some days he will just be "off" and it isn't really his fault. NOW can he learn to try to control himself...YES he can, but he is only ten(going on eleven by the end of the month). Now I have OCD and I know how hard it is to turn off that voice in my head that tells me to freak out about things, so I can only imagine how hard it is for Elijah who has to deal with tics, OCD and ADHD.

I called the psychiatrist office and got him an appointment for the next day, which was yesterday. We didn't get to see his usual person there, because she is on maternity leave but we did see someone else who was very nice. We discussed things and Elijah did a good job of talking to her. We are adding a new medication to his already long list of meds. It is one that hopefully will help control his impulsivity during the day that seems to be his issue. He is yelling out in class and being off task. He will start with 1 mg and then in a week go to 2mg and then we go back in to discuss how it is going.

I hate him having to be on medications, but I truly believe he is a child who has to have them in order to function. His IEP meeting is in about three weeks. I did send a book to school for his teacher calling, "Teaching the Tiger" that is specifically about kids with Tourettes and other co morbid disorders. I really want them to see that HE will have OFF days and there is no amount of rewards or consequences that will truly control those days when he is REALLY OFF...when the chemical imbalance is just too much. I tell him to wipe away his worries and rub his forehead. That seems to help when I see him spiraling a bit out of control. I need to share that with his teacher. He is so remorseful after having what I call a "fit". He knows he messed up, but when he is IN IT he can't pull back and stop himself. That is a skill he will need to learn and one that hopefully meds can help some with.