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, February 14, 2012

Parenting a Child with Special Needs

I have been a teacher of the deaf for 21 years now. The past five years, I have been the Lead Teacher of my department, which means I attend a lot more meetings and am not in the classroom full time any more. Almost 12 years ago my son was born prematurely and diagnosed with a hearing loss at the age of five weeks. he recieved his cochlear implants at the age of 18 months and four and half years of age. At the age of five he started on medication for ADHD and at the age of eight he was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and OCD. Needless to say I have had my ups and downs. I was well prepared for the deafness but as far as his other issues, well let's just say, it has been a challenge.

Before the divorce, Elijah's dad was a good support to me. It was a trying time though and having a special needs child is never easy on a marriage. Since our divorce, I have pretty much been the only one at home to deal with Elijah on a full time basis. My immediate family does support me emotionally, but they aren't here 24 hours a day seven days a week. Jacob was only 13 at the time and expecting him to be a second parent is not an option. I was lucky to find a great babysitter for Elijah after school who was a very important person in his life for two years.

Last week, when Elijah had that really bad day, I arrived at the school visibly upset. No one likes to hear that staff at a school are afraid of getting hurt by a student that is your kid. The principal was very supportive and during the conversation mentioned that she has thought of coming by and taking Elijah out for ice cream so that I could get some time to myself! I guess you know it is bad, when people offer that. I told her though that I do get out and have some time for myself. The last year has been one of the best years of my life. I have found someone to share my life with. I am not going to share a lot about her, but I want everyone to know that I am no longer alone in my struggles with Elijah. I have someone who is very supportive and who has become a great step parent. I am happy because I have someone who takes care of me and who I can take care of too.

Elijah's dad is also back more in his life, asking more about his doctor's appointments and about school. He has always been there, but he has had to move five hours away to find a better job. The economy is not great, as we all know and sometimes people have to move. He keeps in contact though and I know once things settle down for him he will be there for his boys.

We parents need to make sure we take care of ourselves. I go out and spend time with friends and make sure that I take the time for myself. Please remember that...take time for yourself and for your significant other.


  1. Mary, my friend, I can't even imagine what you must be going through as a parent. I almost had to face the single parent life, but we have managed to work it out. I'm so glad you have someone in your life now, that is so important.

    I miss our e-mail loop, it's just not the same on FB. I miss you and your stories! Take care of yourself hun and chat when you can!

  2. Thanks so much Dawn! I miss our little loop too! Things are going well right now...he had a great day today! We just have to take it day by day!