Believe it or not, teachers don’t have it easy, either

I cannot believe I waited an entire 8 months to post…

My first year of teaching is coming down to the last 3 weeks. To say I’ve learned a thing or two is an understatement. Being on the other side of the table has been a little overwhelming and I found myself feeling bad for the times I was not in the least bit sympathetic towards Jacob’s teachers.

It’s not easy being on either side. This is my only excuse for not posting….stress. By the time I get home, It’s time to think about me and my family. I learned after the first few months that your priorities change when your number one priority needs you the most. I can’t wait for these next few weeks to pass so I see more of him.

He has been doing good considering another child started mocking his movements a few months back. Jacob took it upon himself to start twirling a pencil in his right hand because he figured it out that his tics could be somewhat controlled when he does this. I talked to our school occupational therapist and told her a little about Jacob. She recommended that maybe I should get him reevaluated for OCD.

Jacob could care less (for the most part) about having tics on daily basis but he freaks out about the smallest things and he is absolutely terrified about aging. He’s 12! He does not want to get older and he cried as his birthday approached last year and he is already started to panic about this year.

I’d really appreciate some input from other parents on this issue. It’ll be a few more weeks before I’m able to get him an appointment.

I will go with the promise that it will not be another 8 months before another post. Comment me on here or visit my Embracing Difference page on Facebook. I’d love to hear how you or your kiddos are doing.

Always on the clock

Started my 4th week of teaching yesterday, and it’s been a roller-coaster of emotions. My time management skills have proven only that I’ve given the majority of my time to my job and rarely anything else. It will get better.

Jacob has been doing well. His dad has been playing the part of mom and dad, and I feel terrible that I’ve been so busy. He’s in very good hands, though, and I’m thankful that his dad and grandma have been taking such good care of him.

His tics are still a day-to-day battle to keep under control, but middle school has his days filled with new experiences, and so far no one has made a big deal of his movements. Some of his teachers have even reported that they rarely see them.

I hope everyone is hanging in there, and we shall prevail … one way or another. May each of you be blessed and know that you’re always in my thoughts. Busy bee I am, but I’m always on the clock for my son and keeping with the mission to speak out with and for Tourette Syndrome. Battle on!

Hope floats while summer rolls on

So far, it’s been a pretty good summer. I’ve been off-and-on sick for the past few months but finally got on some antibiotics and am starting to feel better.

Jacob is doing well. His tics are about the same. His cousins have been here for the past few weeks, and his cousin told me that Jacob kept waking him up with “beat boxing.”

The next morning, I went in and heard what he was talking about … Jacob’s vocal tics. They are definitely more noticeable lately, but I haven’t seen any new tics. That’s probably more from the fact he’s been keeping busy with his cousins. They’re leaving next weekend, so I’m sure his tics will go into overdrive, and they are always worse when he’s sad — which unfortunately happens when his cousins go home.

I got a job offer the other day to be a PPCD (Preschool Program for Children With Disabilities) teacher, and of course I accepted. I’m excited but nervous.

Overall, I’m always going to be Jacob’s advocate, and I feel bad that I haven’t kept up with the Embracing Difference page on Facebook as much as I was when I first started. Life got busy, but we still haven’t lost hope that one day TS will be met with more acceptance.

Above all else, we hope that children with TS will be more accepting of the way God created them and live life in such a way that it doesn’t matter how the world views them. It only matters how much they see their worth in the whole scheme of things.

I know that Jacob is meant to do wonderful things in this world, and I will keep pushing him to see his potential. He starts middle school in one month!

Time to re-evaluate

Thank you all for holding on and continuing to like our page on Facebook. It’s Jacob’s summer vacation, so I try not to spend a ton of time in front of the computer screen … even when it’s for a good cause.

I’m getting ready to take Jacob back to the neurologist to have him re-evaluated for ADHD and possible Sensory Processing Disorder as well. He’s got a one new tic where he places his hands close and then pulls on his fingers while he’s having his “major tic.” Other than that, we’re hearing a lot of “I’m bored!”

Meanwhile, I don’t expect Jacob to enroll in college anytime soon, and he’s not autistic, but this story still shows the power of how the positive always outweighs the negative. A medical diagnosis doesn’t equal to a “life diagnosis.”

Counting my blessings

Can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted. I need to get better. 🙂 I graduated and I passed both of my state exams. Now I just wait to get certified and of course get a job. I’ve been applying for several districts in the area.

Jacob is nearly done with the 5th grade. Thank God! I’m really hoping this move will benefit him personally and academically. He’s still having trouble with the kids at school. It’s hard when you know no one with the same issues and struggles. I mean, we know people, but no one within the “let’s have some coffee and cry together” kind of thing.

His tics are getting worse, but I think it’s mostly the anticipation of moving into middle school. Ahh, the worries of middle school. Those kids are terrifying to me, too!

He’s graduating next week, and I couldn’t be prouder. He’s not an A and B student, he never had perfect attendance, he’s got focus problems, and of course he can’t sit still to save his life. BUT you know what he does have? He has a heart of gold, a personality that takes a hold of others’ hearts, and the will and drive to be the best possible version of himself.

He fought to survive, and we are both still fighting to survive in this crazy world of ours. It’s a win for us because we have one another and I’m so very blessed to be Jacob’s mom. The best title in the world. ♥

Let’s try again: We need an “Embrace Your Difference” Day

Today did not turn out as intended as only 2 people decided to take part in our “Embrace Your Difference” Day. I was one of them. I’d like to pick a different day that would allow us to carry on the campaign. The reason I picked today is because this is the day Jacob finally came home from the hospital after 6 months and 6 days. For obvious reasons, it is a very dear to my heart day.

I’m not giving up, so in about 2 weeks, expect to see a new post here and also on my Embracing Difference page on Facebook with a new day. The countdown is on! 10 days of student teaching left. 🙂 Hope everyone is doing well. Jacob has got the close to the end of the year ants in his pants tics going on. 🙂

Thank a teacher today

538783_503309179717241_1561534149_nWe’re still here. I started my second placement for student teaching, and now I’m doing middle school inclusion. It’s much different from my last placement, but I love getting the experience from multiple settings. If you haven’t done it lately, thank a teacher. If I model my own teaching from the teachers I’m working with, then I should have no problem being successful. 🙂

Jacob is doing well. He’s still having issue with a few kids, but last week he told me that he thinks no one really notices his tics anymore. State testing starts Tuesday, and he will be doing small group and having the test read to him.

“Tourette Syndrome: Coping With Difference” — Reflection

The following is the 6th and final part of a series of entries that, as a whole, comprise a paper titled “Tourette Syndrome: Coping With Difference” I wrote for a class I am taking at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

Read part 1 here.
Read part 2 here.
Read part 3 here.
Read part 4 here.
Read part 5 here.

Many times throughout this inquiry, I wanted to give up. I was overcome with emotion because we’re still new to Jacob’s diagnosis. Doing research is one thing; inquiring is another. I could research all day and crank out a paper full of facts about what Tourette Syndrome is.

If I had chosen to write about the specifics of having TS, I could have easily typed a hundred pages of facts. My paper would have definitely been so much easier to write, but it wouldn’t have made me see myself as the person I want to be.

This inquiry did something for me that nothing in my entire college education has done so far; this inquiry made me realize how I passionate I truly am about becoming a special education teacher. I wanted so badly to create an inquiry that would be able to explore the sides of Tourette Syndrome that I was the most unfamiliar with.

I, with all honesty, know that I did not meet my goal of finding that “magical” answer. There is no one answer to teaching Jacob to cope. I searched through several perspectives and not even my interviews proved to be “golden keys”. What I learned is that those things do not exist. Continue reading

“Tourette Syndrome: Coping With Difference” — Perspectives

The following is part 5 of a series of entries that, as a whole, comprise a paper titled “Tourette Syndrome: Coping With Difference” I wrote for a class I am taking at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

Read part 1 here.
Read part 2 here.
Read part 3 here.
Read part 4 here.

Two women who shared their children’s stories with me told me that their husbands had not been diagnosed until their children had been diagnosed. Karen’s husband was 42 at diagnosis and Tanya’s husband was 38. I wondered about how both husbands dealt with this disorder growing up, not realizing that there was a name for their behaviors.

Karen didn’t have much of her husband’s history to share, but Tanya’s husband had been misdiagnosed since he was 4 years old. For many years he was treated for seizures until two of their five children were diagnosed with TS. Her two sons and her husband William were all diagnosed within just a few years of one another, with not only TS but Asperger’s as well (Tanya Lackey, personal communication, November 2012).

It was quite difficult for me to gain a better picture of what the historical implications were for the older individuals with Tourette. Lorenzo had been the only one to share his full story with me. Three other adults, much older than Lorenzo and in their 70s, were only willing to give me their symptoms and didn’t want to share much else. I imagine their stories were much more painful than the rest of the stories.

When someone is ridiculed for a condition that is beyond their control, it’s sad and unacceptable. When someone is ridiculed during a time that such conditions were treated as an atrocity and a “sickness”, it moves beyond sad…it’s deplorable.

The educational perspective is merely an extension of the historical perspective. Before TS was first introduced as a medical condition, what were the implications for students who displayed the symptoms and tics during instruction? What will the educational implications for Jacob be? Continue reading