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, April 6, 2014

What is Tourette Syndrome?

I have blogged a great deal about Elijah having Tourette Syndrome, but I don't think I have ever defined what it actually is. According to this website  the Tourette Fact Sheet,, it is "s a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics."

That seems like an easy definition to understand, but then you have to ask yourself....what does a tic look like? This is not as easy to define, because they can be different for each person. Right now Elijah has a tic that is very LOUD and sounds like "ahhh, AHHHHHHHH". He will do this over and over again, and is also humming a great deal. His other vocal tics include a very loud raspberry noise, clearing his throat and snorting(even though it is not really vocal, it is a sound). His motor tics include licking his hands, rubbing his face, making a mean face(again, this is hard to explain, but it is different from his usual face he makes when he is mad), slamming his leg down when laying on the floor, chewing on his shirt, and slamming his hand down. He sometimes slaps himself in the face, but this is rare.

One reason I wanted to define Tourette Syndrome and explain tics, is because an incident at school this week. Elijah has a new teacher that has replaced one of his other teachers. She had written on his status sheet that he was making RANDOM noises during class. He would not stop when asked. When I saw this note, I emailed his case manager at school and asked if this NEW teacher knew Elijah had Tourette Syndrome. The case manager then sent my email onto the new teacher, who emailed me back later the next day. She said that the noises he was making seemed INTENTIONAL and that he could stop them when he served his Take-5, which is a 5 minute time out. So I emailed her back and tried to explain more about Elijah's tics, and she had even asked me for help understanding Tourettes in her email. However explaining a sound in an email, isn't always easy. I sent her my telephone number and asked her to call me this coming week.

This is a video done back in the summer of 2010. Elijah's tics are much better now, but these are some of his more extreme tics. He is on different medication now.

Here is another video of him with his tics. This was also taken back in 2010.

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