1.28.2006

Label

I will write up the YouCSF visit in more detail later, but if my site traffic is any indicator then many of you are concerned and damn well want to know what is brewing behind my cryptic Label comment. Suffice it to write that Dr. G. E. informed us that in his opinion Leelo is mildly mentally retarded. He based this mostly on the report from the MYND Institute that demonstrates Leelo operating as a 2 1/2 - 3 year old at every measurable level.

Now, I have been looking at that same report since August. The figures were right in front of me. However, since the nice people at the Stanffford Autism Clinic assured me almost two years ago that Leelo was not mentally retarded, it never occurred to me to acknowledge what the more recent scores might mean.

Two days later, it doesn't really mean that much. He's the same boy, he's awesome and snuggly and wonderful, and even if the label is accurate, his prognosis is still great. He hasn't changed one whit, this new opinion is not going to have any effect upon his program or how he is treated, because his education deals with his unique traits rather than trying to get him to adhere to a specific, rigid curriculum.

Even so, I really shouldn't have been so surprised. Depending upon which sources you cite, up to 75 percent of people with autism are also mentally retarded. So the odds are certainly not in Leelo's favor.

Dr. E admitted that autism interferes with a lot of these tests, and lowers the scores. Supervisor M stressed this as well. She also reminded me of how quickly Leelo learns things, of how stratospheric his initial progress was upon instating his behavioral program, and how she still thinks he's going to make great strides.

The age-adjustment makes sense when his recent behavior is taken into consideration. In Dr. E's opinion, Leelo has entered his terrible twos with a delayed vengeance. He was easygoing before because he was still, mentally, in a happy twilight toddler mindset. All this crappiness is a phase! We can deal with phases.

It is two days later and my fog has almost completely evaporated. It had more to do with how people react to the label, and more specifically with what it would mean to Iz and Mali to have a brother with that label, two things I am no longer so concerned about. I am even slightly mortified that I cared so much, because it shouldn't make a difference--a special needs kid is a special needs kid. And my special needs kid is still the cutest, cleverest, fastest, handsomest, and wonderfullest one around. So there.

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