Bad on Paper

We received Greyson’s written diagnosis of Autism in the mail a few days before his 3rd birthday…
Ironically I was so happy to receive it because we needed the document to be eligible for services to continue after his actual 3rd birthday…

I remember Greyson’s caseworker coming over a few weeks later.. She had overseen Grey’s Early Intervention therapy and needed to officially close that chapter of our life. As she reviewed the report confirming Greyson diagnosis of Autism- she let out a sound of surprise…

Hmmmmm….. Wow… Greyson only got one diagnosis…Autism...

She flipped through some more pages…
After she finished the report she said- That’s really great… Greyson only got the one diagnosis…

Why does she keep saying this? I wondered…And why is this great?

What do you mean- he only got one diagnosis? What else do they give out?

Without skipping a second she answered, MR…

More confusion on my part…

M……..R…….?

Mental Retardation….

Wow…It really is a term used still.. I had no idea that was part of his evaluation…Thank God or I would have obsessed over it before hand…

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How do they test these kids IQ? They don’t learn the Typical way…and the only tests are Typical tests…How do they tap into the Life that lies inside- that we have yet to fully understand how to uncover? The answer is- they can’t…

For days that’s all I thought about…A Parent opening a report- like I did…expecting the sad but already known information…and then reading that their child also fits the diagnostic criteria for Mental Retardation… My heart breaks thinking about it… Double whammy… And then I realized beautiful, awesome, amazing children with Down Syndrome are also given the diagnosis of MR… It’s so much more common than I realized.

So like all things that I ponder- I read…And I read and I read and I read… It seems that 50% of most Autism diagnosisalso carry a diagnosis of Mental Retardation (down from 70% in previous reports)

A diagnosis of MR is partially defined by an IQ below 70. (And the term Mental Retardation is being replaced by the term intellectual developmental disorder.) The unfortunate part about any of of these terms – is once they exist— they then have the ability to turn into a slang word as an insult… It’s easy to say- That’s so retarded… But somewhere every time that phrase is muttered- a Momma’s heart breaks a little more…

Labels…often needed in the medical and scholastic World… It’s up to us to realize they don’t define us though…Not even close…

I was at my annual lady parts Doctor last week… They had switched offices and hadn’t fully transferred all of their old paperwork…I was greeted by a new Nurse Practitioner that would be doing my exam…She went through her chart and asked me questions…

So- is Parker your only child?

ME: No- I have a 3 year old too. He was born in Los Angeles- not here in Fresno…

Oh- that’s nice. They are close in age… What’s his name?

ME: Greyson

2 boys. That’s great…And Parker is 19 months now…How is he doing?

And I should have said fine and moved on…but I started to talk…

I gave her a little insight about my Life… My fears…Parker…Life with Greyson…Autism… and it all sounded so laughably bad… I got out my phone and said- please- let me show you some pictures…I’ve painted such a grim picture of my Life and it really doesn’t feel that way…

And on the drive home I remembered back to my long and drawn out dating days… So often I’d have absolutely no chemistry with someone who was good on paper… Kind, fun, tall, polite, good job, handsome….but still nothing

And I laughed realizing I am really bad on paper…

But most days I can have a good hearty laugh at my expense…and I’m strong as Hell- but have no short term memory because I forget I am strong… And I love to love…I love them- and I am damned good at it…

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Our Life is like us…it just wants to be loved exactly for what it is… Flaws and all… I’m working on giving it the unconditional Love it deserves…

Not to be left unscathed by my props…

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Article Courtesy:  Chrissy Kelly

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