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!

Friday, January 24, 2014

TV Show--Parenthood IEPs

I watched last nights Parenthood episode tonight on my DVR. The subject of IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings was the story line for the family with Max, who has Aspergers. The writers did a decent job of portraying an IEP meeting and how overwhelming it can be for a family. I really wanted to jump in there and advocate for the two families involved. Max's mom went to an IEP meeting to assist another mom, and felt that she could have done more to help. Max's mom then finds out that Max is being sent to the library to do independent work because his teacher can't teach when Max is in the room. Max's parents are frustrated and don't know what to do or how to advocate for him. I think this part was something the writer's got correct.

Parents do have to educate themselves on the law and what the school needs to provide under IDEA (Individual's with Disabilities Education Act). I am a deaf education teacher I was used to being in an IEP meetings(ARD meeting here in Texas) in that role. As a parent, I find it difficult to know how to handle all of the situations I find myself in with him. I have learned to use the acronym FAPE(Free and Appropriate Education) as well as LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) to my advantage. I have also learned to say things like, "You are making my son fit into a program instead of making the program fit him." This phrase been a good one.

Elijah's next ARD meeting is in April! He is being re-evaluated this year and we will discuss those scores as well as the plan for next year. He has had a good year so far, but has just recently been having some issues. Of course, we just went to the doctor on Monday and NOW he is having problems with touching others. ARGH....I know this is probably a tic, but how to handle it. I am going to email his teacher again and ask for the behavior specialist to come in and see what is going on.

I am glad to see a TV program take on real life issues of families of children with special needs.

Friday, January 10, 2014

TV Show--Parenthood

I just finished watching the Parenthood episode that aired last night (1/9/2014) on NBC. I have been watching those show since it first aired. One of the characters, Max, has Asperger's Syndrome. It has been interesting to see how the writers have handled his character. I believe they have done a very good job portraying him and his family. The parents who first must deal with the diagnosis, working with teachers and administrators and figuring out how to deal with Max and his Asperger's.

Last nights episode was difficult to watch. Max doesn't have any friends in high school and doesn't really fit in with the anyone at school. I sometimes wonder how Elijah REALLY does at school with friends and such. He has been in classes to work on his social skills. He says he sits with his friends at lunch. However, I really wonder HOW does he do in school in the social arena. Elijah is hearing impaired and has Tourette Syndrome, and even with ONLY one of these disabilities he would have social issues, but Elijah has them BOTH.

Elijah wants to be in ROTC when he goes to high school in the Fall of 2015. I know that is 18 months away, but it will be here sooner than I know. I have no doubt that he can join ROTC, but can he really handle the discipline of being in the ROTC. Jacob was in the ROTC for three years in high school. ROTC could be great for Elijah or it could be disastrous, but I will have to let him try.

I am glad that there are shows on TV like Parenthood, so that others can get a glimpse into a family with a child with special needs.