My oldest son is fourteen years of age. He stands five foot eleven inches, tall, slender, and to be totally unbiased, drop dead gorgeous. He is in his first year of high school (Grade 8 here in The Queen's own land). His smile could break a million hearts, his laughter warm a million more.
My son. My beautiful son. My wonderful amazing straight A, acing school, report card written in such glowing terms you need sunglasses to read it, son.
My son who has Asperger Syndrome.
He was three when we began this journey. Three. He was five turning six when we began to formalise it. Back ten years ago there was no financial aide, little support and not much information. Early intervention was a mix of public and private chaos. We were lucky, we muddled our way onto the very path that is recommended for all littlies on the spectrum today. Speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychologist, social skills group... somehow in the confusion we got it right.
Which leads me to the point of today's post.
Intellectual impairment and autism.
My son was assessed using all the modern diagnostic tools, I could use all the lovely letters here but they may not mean much to a lot of you. Things such as CARS, WISPII, DSM IV.
But the actual results do not stick in my mind, what is frozen there was the psychologist's words.
Moderate Intellectual Impairment.
My son. My baby. My beautiful boy. I cried that day. And probably the day after too. It is all a little foggy now.
What I didn't know then is that the IQ testing part is notoriously inaccurate in results when testing CHILDREN ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM.
What I didn't know was that these amazing kids do not test well at all, and their ability is often recorded far lower than it actually is.
What I did realise within 48 hours was whilst testing was well and good, he was still MY son, the exact same child as before diagnosis, before testing, before this specialist's words.
Whom nobody knew as well as I, his mother did. And in my heart there was no doubt that he DID NOT HAVE AN II.
Over the next few years many people, teachers, specialists, parents treated me with sympathy as they decided I was delusional or in denial. I even had one senior special needs educator (they brought in the BIG guns to deal with me) tell me I was "unduly scaring my child with my inability to recognise his shortcomings"... yeah, that one I can quote word for word nearly a decade later.
Poor, poor woman. Silly, delusional Madmother.
The crazy woman.
The mother who knew, loved and accepted her child whilst still believing in him. The mother who fought tooth and nail for his rights, for who she KNEW in her heart, he was, for the man she knew he could be.
For the young man he is today.
I guess my point is this. For those of you on the start of this journey, believe in yourself. Trust your instincts as a parent, have the guts to stick to what YOU know your child to be no matter what the so-called experts say.
|Boy 1 Grade 7 Graduation 2011|
It is worth it. It is beyond worth it, it is incredible, amazing, heart-filling, bursting with pride, jaw-droppingly WOW!