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, December 29, 2015

Genetic Testing

I took Elijah into his doctor today for genetic testing. The nurse swabbed both of his cheeks and will send the samples off to the company to have it tested. The testing will show which medications Elijah's body metabolizes better so that the doctor can decide which medications to try with him. It will cost around $300 and I think it is worth a try. Right now he is maxed on some of his medications and the doctor wanted to try a new ADHD medication for his impulsivity, but what to try? It is a guessing game. She did up his intuniv medication by 1 MG and we will see if that helps. We should have the results next week and they will call me to discuss them. Another parent had mentioned genetic testing at the Tourette Syndrome Support Group meeting back on December 12th and said that the results had really helped with medication decisions. I am hoping this helps the doctor to made future decisions about Elijah's medication.  Elijah takes medication for OCD, ADHD and for his tics, and it is always hard to know what is helping him and what isn't. I'll keep you all posted!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rechargeable vs. Disposable Batteries

Disposable batteries
Elijah has been using rechargeable batteries since he was upgraded to his Nucleus 6 processors. He had rechargeable batteries with his Freedoms, but his FM system had a separate battery rack so we didn't use the rechargeable batteries much until he started using the MyLink FM system. He has had the Nucleus 6 processors for 18 months now and one of his rechargeable batteries is starting to not hold a battery all day. I started doing some research on disposable batteries and found that I can get a box of 60 batteries for $18.25. After doing the math, I would need about 600 batteries, or 10 boxes for one year. That is $182.50. The cost of one rechargeable battery is $199. The only reason to go with the rechargeable battery is for swimming with the Aqua+ kit.

rechargeable battery
I still have some disposable batteries that we can use until I decide what I want to do. One advantage of the rechargeable batteries is they do last all day and we just switch them out at night (he has four batteries for two processors, so one set charges while he wears the other two). The disposable batteries will last for 2-3 days, but can die at any time and then you have to stop and change them. Elijah doesn't like it when his batteries die, so I would have to have a chat with his case manager so she understands that he may not react well if they die at school. He knows how to change the batteries, so that is good. The disadvantage of the rechargeable batteries is they only last about a year, so if we switch them out every other day then they should last 2 years, but you never know. For me to buy four new rechargeable batteries would cost $800 for 2 years. The disposable batteries would cost about $360 for 2 years. I could try to get insurance to cover the batteries, but that is a hassle that I am not sure I want to deal with right now.

I am curious to find out what others prefer! Please leave a comment.

Nucleus 6 with disposable batteries

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Our Christmas Break

Elijah and I are off for two weeks for Christmas break and Jacob will be home for a whole month. My hone still has to work, but has the next three days off! We have actually gotten to sleep in a few mornings and we are enjoying the nice weather.

I completed my Master's Degree in Special Education from Texas Tech University this month. I am not a certified Educational Diagnostician. I am still waiting for my diploma to arrive in the mail! I can't wait to get it. I was able to print my certification out on the TEA website, and that definitely made it feel more real. I can't believe I have my master's degree! Jacob has only one more semester left in school and he will graduate with his associate's degree in May of next year!

Elijah is doing well. We went to see his doctor for his Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD. She got to see a lot of his impulsivity at this visit. He was persistent at trying to get his way when she tried to talk to him. We are changing his medication a bit, and will go back in about six weeks. She mentioned a genetic test that might help pinpoint which medications would work best for him. The interesting thing, is this was mentioned at the Tourette Support Group meeting we attended back on Dec. 12th. I called the genetic company, and our insurance is not on their list yet, but I was assured the out of cost for me would not exceed an amount that I am willing to pay. I am going to take him next week for a cheek swab and then see what we can find out. The family at the support group meeting said that when they had the testing done, they learned a lot about the medications that would help their son and it has been very helpful. The doctor wants to possibly change his ADHD medication, but it is hard to know what to change him too, but hopefully this testing will help. I am excited about it, but don't want to get too excited

We are very excited about Christmas. Elijah got a new bed, which my hone, Jacob and I put together yesterday. Elijah helped some, but it was a small room and we needed all the room we could get to put the bed together. He did run some things back and forth for us and keep an eye on our progress. He was so excited to get his bed. Jacob's big gift is the car he is now driving. I have a few surprises for both boys. All of my other shopping is pretty much done. I have a few more things to pack. My honey and I want to go shopping and look at some jewelry. We just aren't sure if we want to fight the crowds tomorrow.

We have also been busy baking. I have been making snow ball cookies and will be making pralines later this week. We have also been making truffles! Jacob and Elijah love to help make truffles.
 My honey and I roll out the truffles and then put them in the sprinkles. The boys are in charge of making sure the truffles are covered in sprinkles.  They then put them in the mini muffin cups. Every 10th truffles requires a taste test for quality control and we each take our turn testing the truffles. We let them know what time we will be making truffles and the boys make sure they are there, or they know they miss out. We have fun as we make the truffles and it is a nice time to talk! We have made several batches of truffles.

Jacob and Elijah making truffles.
Today my nephew and niece came over and we made Christmas cookies. This is something else I enjoy doing this time of year. We had a lot of fun and the kids got to cut out cookies, bake them, and then decorate them. We use sprinkles on the cookies as well! My honey also has some Christmas favorites she likes to bake. We have been baking for several months. Elijah takes treats to all of his teachers and I hand treats out to my staff.

I am looking forward to 2016. I can't believe how much has happened this past year!! I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!