Sometimes, I wish Elijah was just deaf. Dealing with his deafness has been relatively easy, when compared to dealing with his behavior due to his Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD issues. Most people understand that he is deaf. His cochlear implant processor are a clear indication that he can't hear. However, he hears everything while wearing them and does pretty well with communication. Explaining his other issues is more difficult sometimes.
Just yesterday we went to the library. They have a teen room that he enjoys going to and I have let him have some independence and let him go by himself. They have video games and laptops the kids can use. I spend about 20 minutes in the recreation center working out and then check on him. I then stay in the library so I can keep an eye on him. I usually check on him after about 45 minutes and then we head home. A few days ago, when I entered, he was being asked to be quiet. OK, no big deal. We discussed it and how he needs to behave. Well, yesterday they moved the Teen room to a larger room. They had board games, along with the video games, a raffle, and some snacks. I checked on him after about 20 minutes and he was doing fine. I then told one of the librarians where I would be, and went to read some of the newspapers. I came back after about 30 minutes and started looking for him. Well, one of the librarians found me. They told me he was a bit aggressive, pushing some other kids. He didn't understand that he couldn't just have one of the raffle items. He was now crying and trying to get his way using tears. He does get a bit of sympathy due to his deafness and people will give him a little leeway, but only so far. I thanked the librarians and we left.
Elijah and I talked about his behavior. I told him that he could no longer stay in the teen room while I went to the recreation center. I told him we could go to the rec center together and then I would go to the library with him. I would let him go in the teen room alone, but check on him every ten minutes. This would allow him to "practice" how to behave. He could stay for 30 minutes and then we would visit on another day. I have found that if he practices an activity, he does better. We can then move up to me checking on him every 15 minutes and so one. We can then work on him staying for 45 minutes.
When he has done well in the teen center, I come in and he is playing with other kids. No one has teased him or made him feel uncomfortable. I am glad this is a "safe" place for him to play, but it also not a daycare. As his mom, I have to help him learn to be around others. The only way his behavior can improve is if he practices how to behave and learns what is acceptable.
I really don't mind having this "duty" as his mom, but there are days when I wish I could just be a typical mom and not have to PLAN all of this out. I love him though, and he is worth it!
THE SHADDOX BOYS
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!