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, May 21, 2013

A Converstaion with Elijah

Elijah and I were on our way to a doctor's appointment yesterday and below is a conversation we had:

Mom: Elijah, what is your favorite subject in school?
Elijah: Science
Mom: Oh really, well what do you want to be when you grow up?
Elijah: study rocks
Mom: You want to study rocks?
Elijah: yea, there is black rock....ossisian(approximation of what he said)
Mom: what kind of rock?
Elijah: Ossisan
Mom: Obsidian rock
Elijah: yea, the rock made from lava and cool water.
Mom: oh, well how do you get that kind of job?
Elijah: go to college.
We then practiced how to say obsidian several time, using visual phonics. However, during all of this I was just amazed at his vocabulary. I even looked up obsidian rock and we were correct....meaning I was able to guess what he said from his speech approximation. Finally, teaching high school science paid off for me!! He picks up new vocabulary so easily. We do have to work on articulation, but he gives me enough information to work with.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month

Yesterday was the start of Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month! As many of you know, Elijah has Tourette Syndrome. It is a very confusing thing to try to explain to people. Elijah doesn't have many tics, but when he does they can be very intense. He also has OCD and ADHD which are two co-morbid disorders associated with Tourette Syndrome. I would say these two things give him more trouble than the tics do.

I am trying to educate more and more people about Tourette Syndrome. Awareness is the key!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

More Pictures from Camp!

Here are some more pictures of Elijah at the Tourette's Camp.

He is very proud here!

Painting a bird house!

Elijah at the top!
Climbing HIGH!

OH My what a big SNAKE!

Monday, May 6, 2013

IEP Meeting!

I went to Elijah's annual IEP meeting this afternoon. Here in Texas we call them ARD(Admission, Review and Dismissal) meetings, but I will call it an IEP meeting for today! The meeting went well. Elijah has made good progress. We reviewed his IEPs for next year and his class schedule. The Dean of Students from the Junior High attended the meeting. We discussed areas of concern and came up with ideas. I was really worried about PE, because I thought he would have to dress out in PE, but he won't! None of the kids have to dress out, unless they are in athletics. We also discussed making sure he has an inclusion aide with him in PE and putting him in the smallest PE class that they could find.

It was one of the easier IEP meetings that I have had for Elijah. I let the Dean of Students know that I expected a few bumps along the road next year, but as long as we all worked together it would be OK. I am hoping the transition goes well and he has a good year next year. Only two more years until high school, YIKES! Jacob will be a senior next year and I start graduate school....oh what a year we will all have!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Houston, We Have a Problem!"

Elijah's cousin, Tabbie, is over today for a few hours so they can play. They played some Wii games and now they each sit on the couch with an electronic device. They are chatting and comparing games. I just heard Elijah laugh and say to Tabbie, "Houston, we have a problem!" I now sit here wondering where HE heard that phrase and amazed that he then used it himself and most likely appropriately.

I have written several times about my amazement of hearing Elijah speak and use the vocabulary and grammar structures that he does. I work with hearing impaired kids every day don't hear them use the vocabulary that Elijah does. Just the other day, Elijah was in the bath when he YELLS for me. It sounds like he is in terrible danger! I go in and he says to me, while pointing to some blisters on his heels...."MY SKIN IS DISSOLVING!" He has no processors on so I motion/gesture to him to finish his bath and BLAH basically, don't worry about it. I then turn around and GRIN from ear to ear thinking..."DISSOLVING!" WOW, what a word for him to use!

DEAF children can learn and pick up language incidentally. Even children who rely on sign language can IF their parents sign with them and use language around them all the time. I don't dumb down the language for Elijah. I speak to him like he is a 13 year old, and if I see he doesn't understand I change the way I say it and then say it the original way I said it again. I have done this since he was a baby. THIS IS WORK and it is a LOT OF WORK, but it has paid off!

I look  and listen to Elijah in amazement sometimes, and wonder HOW did we get here, but I know it was all the work we did in the past. We still have work ahead of us, but it is worth it when I hear...."Houston, we have a problem."