I and D. Two little initials. another label we have been wanting for a few years. Our son is ID (Intellectually Disabled.) Praise God! The answer to our prayers! Officially, our son is Intellectually Disabled. Can you tell I find myself at the end of a long special needs journey? The journey to yet another diagnosis.
My son has always had challenges. It started before the age of 3 when a physiatrist (Physiatrist, NOT Psychiatrist) said that he couldn’t evaluate all of my son’s physical special needs because of his ADHD symptoms. He couldn’t examine him well enough because my son wouldn’t be still long enough for him to check bones and muscles. That was the first of our many life altering initials. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) paved the way for us to hear many more:
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder)
RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder
PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified,)
CP (Cerebral Palsy)
SID , now called SPD, I believe (Sensory Integration Disorder or Sensory Processing Disorder)
ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)
NVLD (Nonverbal Learning Disability)
DDD, now called DCD (Developmental Discoordination Disorder or Developmental Coordination Disorder)
My son has received all of these labels and probably more than I can remember right now! As you can see, we’ve been playing this game so long that many of the labels have changed their names, probably to sound a bit less ominous to the shattered parents. And, we have been on this journey hoping for an MH/MR diagnosis until the term MHMR became politically incorrect and no longer existed. Mental Handicap/Mental Retardation is now called ID (Intellectually Disabled.)
He may now be ID today, but my son is the same as he was yesterday before he had these new letters added to his list. His behaviors always remain the same, it’s the label that changes, not the kid. Why am I doing the happy dance because of this new label? The reason for my celebrating is that this diagnosis opens doors more easily for a kid that has always had struggles opening doors. It will help and assist him when I am not longer able to be his advocate. It will give him more people on his team and more funding to pay for them. It will help. And, that is all we can hope for.
For years he has been borderline IQ. His scores were consistent and he fell just above the label. His verbal abilities surpass his understanding and his good verbal abilities make him appear to have a better understanding of things than he does. My husband blames me for this discrepancy because I read to him too much as a child. But the truth is, as parents we do everything we can for our kids and as parents of a special needs child we work even harder. We go to therapies, we adapt our homes, we seek, we search, we implement plan after plan. We actually work to get our children as informed as we can. THEN, when it comes to test scores, we find out we may have done our child a disservice because his intellect has improved a couple of points, but it prevents him from receiving much of the assistance he needs. Yep, I shouldn’t have spent all those hours reading to him. What a crazy system we have in place.
Today I will celebrate his new set of initials. Each of the above named initials has introduced me to a disorder and a challenge, but each one has also enlightened me. It has also opened doors to friendships I would not have had, to an understanding that I would never had sought out, and to a recognition of those struggling. It has been eye opening as well as door opening. I just pray that this last set of initials will assist and aid my son as he grows into the adult that his chronological age now says he is.