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!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001

It has been a day of remembrance for me. I was a teacher at the high school in the district I work in, when a teacher in the hallway told me about the World Trade Center. I then heard a bit later that another plane hit the other tower. One of the interpreters had a radio and she pulled it out so we could listen to it. I called my husband who was just as afraid as I was. I knew my mother was traveling that day from somewhere in the north east, but wasn't sure where. I finally got a hold of someone at her company who called her so she could call me. Someone finally brought in a video from home and everyone int he school watched in horror.

It was very difficult for all of us and I remember trying to explain it to my students using sign language. I videoed the news coverage at home for the next week or so bringing it in for my students to watch. They would work and then ask me to explain what was happening in the video. Much of the coverage was not captioned so they had no idea what was going on.

There was one shining moment on that day. I got a call from the caseworker handling Elijah's cochlear implant surgery. It had been approved and the doctor's office should be calling to set up his surgery. He was 17 months old at the time and we had been awaiting this moment for several weeks. He had his surgery on Sept. 26, 2001.

It was a day of mixed emotions for me. I was elated about Elijah's surgery but devastated by the events of the day. I also remember how patriotic my deaf young men were in my class. They were determined to join the military and help. They knew they couldn't be on the front line, but they could drive a truck or be a mechanic. It broke my heart to tell them that they would not be allowed to join, but that I was so proud of them for wanting too.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Update--Third week of School

So I get a phone call from the assistant principal of Elijah's school today. He bit a student in art class. I mention to her that biting has been one of his tics in the past. He has put his mouth/teeth on a doorknob, on my arm or hand and on many other things. He does it when he is frustrated. Last week he spit at someone at lunch. Again, this is one of his tics. I can hear the air leave the room when I speak to the assistant principal on the phone. She really doesn't "get it". Now, I don't want him doing these things, but we all have to work with him on finding a replacement tic.

Thankfully, I also got a call from the LSSP(school psychologist) last week and I absolutely love her. We had talked about the spitting incident and she spoke to the school about it being a tic. She did a training at the school this past Wednesday. I called her this afternoon and we talked about the biting incident. She then told me she had biting listed as a possible tic for kids with Tourette's. She assured me she would go to the school and speak to them again.

Now, Elijah and I talked about the spitting when it happened and again today about the biting. The school and I need to work with him on finding a replacement tic and looking for what precedes these incidents so we can try to keep this from happening. What drives me crazy is the feeling that they don't realy believe these are tics. I don't want to be seen as the mom who makes excuses for her son so he can misbehave.

I told someone one the phone just now, what I want is for more understanding on their part. For them to examine the situation and not always assume some action couldn't be a tic, but rather examine the situation and determine if it might be a tic. Elijah is pretty honest about his tics and if it isn't a tic he will tell you. The only thing keeping me from being really aggravated with the school is knwoing the LSSP understands and she will step in and work with the school staff to help Elijah and help them to understand Tourette's. It really is a hard one to wrap your brain around.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Vocabulary, Ipads and Cartoons

Elijah still amazes me daily with the vocabulary he uses. I have got to be a better recorder and start writing down some of what he says. He loves POKEMON right now(drives Jacob and I crazy with it) and is always wanting us to watch it. He will say things like, "look mom, that pokemon is EVOLVING!" He then tells me all the names of the Pokemon that what they are? He also tells me about the story. He will then tell me that the people are evacuating. I am just amazed that he can relate all of this to me in a coherent way that I understand, or think I understand. I am not a big Pokemon fan.

Elijah also loves my IPad. I use it as a reward for good behavior at school. His teachers do email me if he had a rough day, and he doesn't like losing his time with the Ipad. He likes watching videos on youtube or playing angry birds. He will bring me the Ipad and tell me all kinds of things about what he is doing. He told me today about some "creepers" in a game he was playing. He is also very good with the Ipad and doesn't get frustrated with it like he does the computer.

I almost forgot to tell y'all this cute story. Elijah called me on my cell phone the other day and I could not answer. He then called me again and left me a message. It went something like this, "mom are you are you there...I so worried, I call you back in a minute." Isn't that the cutest thing?!

I know it may not seem like a big deal, but the fact that he learns new vocabulary daily, with little intervention from me is amazing to me. I work with so many deaf students who just aren't at this level. Elijah's speech may not always be great, but the words he uses astound me. I'll have to start keeping a list of his words and update y'all later.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Update on boys and school!

Well both boys have been back to school for two weeks now. Jacob got his ROTC uniform switched out for a bit larger size so he is set and ready to wear it when the time comes. We went to Meet the Teacher the other night and I got to meet most of his teachers. They spoke well of him and so far he is doing well in school. He is a sophomore this year and is having to shave a few times a week!

Elijah is in 5th grade and attending an intermediate school. He was in the behavior program for the last two and a half years at the elementary school. Needless to say this is a HUGE change for him. He is riding the bus to and from school. An aide meets him and several other kids at the school and they wait in the library for school to start. He has two resource classes(English and Math) and is in inclusion for Science and Social Studies. He has had a few behavior challenges. The teachers have been great at communicating with me as have both of the principals.

He did spit at several kids at lunch the other day. The assistant principal called and when I told her it was a tic, I could her the disbelief in her voice. We talked and then when I arrived home I emailed the principal. The school LSSP(psychologist) happened to call the next day and we spoke for quite some time. She agreed that the spitting was a tic and she would talk to both principals the next day. She asked lots of good questions and will be leading a workshop for Elijah's teachers next week. The LSSP asked me what I really wanted the teachers to get out of this workshop and I told her that Tourette's is not just about tics, it has many co morbid disorders. We also discussed how Elijah's hearing loss affects his communication in regards to his tourette's syndrome. Elijah is a good communicator but not great at explaining how his tics affect him.

I have to say though, that overall I am pleased with how the school year has started. I am sure there will be some issues during this school year, but hopefully we can all work together to ensure that Elijah has a good year!