by, March 21st, 2009 at 02:19 PM (914 Views)
<My post from Athena's "Sofa King" thread>
"Occurring or developing later than desired or expected; delayed; slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress."
Based on these definitions of retarded, one might call my son Nathan retarded; but he's not. After 3 years of speech therapy, we were just given a recent evaluation on Nathan and his latest performance on the Preschool Language scale-4(PLS-4). To be exact, we were told by his speech therapist, "...demonstrates a speech and language disorder characterized by poor comprehension of age-appropriate linguistic concepts and decreased use of language". "Disorder" being the key word here. Prior to this latest evaluation, we could not be told with all certainty that Nathan had a pronounced speech delay vs. a speech disorder. I ask what is the difference exactly. One will almost entirely recover from a delay, a disorder is more likely to stay with one to some degree.
His speech is "occurring and developing later than desired or expected"...still, he is not retarded, not in the sense that most understand the word. He has been slow in comparison with his peers in developing emotionally and intellectually....so then again, one might say he's retarded, but still, he is not. His mental faculties and life skills in coping and socializing are normal. As his adaptive skills are on target, took some time and struggled with some, but today, he is in every sense a "normal" child of 5 yrs. If someone were to ask me if my child is retarded or mentally handicapped, I guess I would take some offense because the connotation to that particular word has always been a negative in meaning, and I might think he is being made fun of, unless with all seriousness, one would ask in a polite and curious way, "is your son mentally challenged". Still, admittedly, it would be hard to hear that question because no parent wants to hear their child associated with that word. We all want to believe the skies the limit for our children, but the reality is some have limits. No it is not deplorable the notion of comparing ones ability or lack of it to being retarded. But anything out of the "normal" range of description is shunned by society, openly or in private. I'd go further to say, on a personal level my own infliction of Dyslexia makes me far more sensitive on the subject, as I felt I was just "stupid" and really didn't have the ability to pursue a higher education. I went undiagnosed for years until college.
To know Nathan is to love him. He is by all honesty, the sweetest, kindest most gracious soul I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. If he was not so gifted in one area, and this is the case, there is no doubt he was blessed with abundance in others. I guess what it comes down to, as his mama, I know Nathan has struggled with speech and might always have troubles in this are but I just know in my heart he will get past this one day. Don't ask me how I know, but I know and I won't have anyone telling him otherwise because of a word that in part describes his limitations. I can think of a better word that describes Nathan as a whole....perfect.
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