Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What does "retarded" mean anyway?

I went to talk with the psychologist that did some testing on Daniel recently.  I was hoping that he'd have some good news for me.  I was hoping he'd tell me that my son is not retarded.  No such luck.  What he did say is this:  "It should also be mentioned that because Daniel's core IQ values are near the low average range, and because it is really his attention and concentration problems that prevent him from performing at that low average range (which is far better than mentally retarded,) the goal in his education should be to get him performing at least at the low average range."  Meaning this:  my son's IQ is low enough to put him in the "MR" range but it's close enough to being "low average" that if we could get him to have any sort of focus and/or attention span, there is hope of him performing at that level.  I guess that's good news, right?  Moral of the story is this:  after the 3rd set of psychological tests on a child, as much as a mom doesn't want to believe her child is "intellectually impaired," and as much as the teachers that attempt to educate also disbelieve. . .  maybe it's true after all?  Other than his low IQ Daniel left with similar diagnoses in other areas as he had when he went in.   
          AXIS I   Mood Disorder NOS with significant anger, agitation and general moodiness, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, combined type, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Oppositional-Defiant Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Learning Disorder Involving Written Language. 
          AXIS II  Borderline Intellectual Functioning (V62.89) Rule Out Mild Mental Retardation
          AXIS III Brain abnormality
          AXIS IV Psychosocial Stressors, Adoption, Brain Abnormality, Special needs in other children in the house

This is only slightly different from how he was already diagnosed.  Last year the team that saw him when he was admitted as an inpatient in the pediatric psych hospital diagnosed him with BiPolar Disorder.  It's flip flopped back to Mood Disorder NOS, which is what it was prior to his last hospitalization.  It's basically the same thing anyway.  I thought I'd be more depressed hearing yet again that my little superstar is "retarded."  I'm not though because in spite of that diagnosis of doom, the doctor had good things to say that were absolutely spot on.  It gave me confidence in knowing that "Hey this guy 'gets' my kid and he  thinks just maybe there's hope for him yet!"  He said that Daniel's strength was by far knowing what is going on around him and being attuned and responsive to that.  That explains why, in spite of his low IQ, he seems so much more "with it." Also:  He told me that when Daniel learns something. . . even though it might take him longer, he's not likely to forget it and most importantly, he said if we continue with the hard work and focused instruction, he just might be able to learn to read!  Oh if only. . . it would be this mama's dream come true!  The tears welling up in my eyes tonight as I type this are because I know the hard road my amazing child has before him.  I only wish I had the power to take it all away. . .make that crack in his brain go away and give him a "normal" life!  Oh how I love that boy!  I've often said as big as his rage is. . . as loud as he screams and fights and as much as he lacks control. . . THAT is how big my love is for this precious child God sent me from the land of Hanboks and Kim Chee.  That big and bigger. 

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