My heart was trampled on this week by my son’s pediatric developmental specialist. She didn’t mean to do it. She was doing her best to explain the inexplicable because (I assume) there’s no medical textbook explanation for my three year old son. Some of his behaviors are characteristically autistic, while most are not. She couldn’t give him the “complete autism diagnosis” because not all he does (or doesn’t do) pertain to the disorder. She called him a “very slow learner”, he has “lack of intelligence” and compared him to “Forrest Gump”. Had we been outside in the hallway or out of the building, I probably would’ve went to jail for second degree assault for kicking her ass, but, we were in her office and she was doing her best to make a complex condition very plain to me. Her explanation sounded more like a surrender than a diagnosis. She told me to start preparing now to have to care for my son for the rest of his life, and make legal plans for his care in case me or his father died. I left the appointment feeling extremely burdened and discouraged. Soon after, I had another appointment with another agency regarding my son. They checked his growth rate, which has fallen below average for a child his age. It’s what I expected to hear because I told them my son refuses to eat. They repeated techniques for me to try that simply do not work for him. I know because I’ve been trying them for over two years. I know I’ve never heard of such, and you may not have either, but an anorexic three year old boy exists. And I can’t believe he’s my son. I’m hoping he’s not the only one, and there is some medical explanation out there that hasn’t been brought to light yet. Even Forrest Gump was smart enough to eat.
The “Forrest Gump” reference bothered me a lot. I had knots in my chest, lumps in my throat, and tears in my eyes for a couple of nights until I stopped reacting and started thinking. First of all, I love the movie. It’s one of my favorites and in my opinion, best shows one man and his many achievements in spite of his “lack of intelligence.” The movie best displayed how a person doesn’t have to be smart (by society’s definition) to reach Forrest’s level of accomplishments and prestige. And, the catalyst to Forrest’s success was the sacrifice and strong will of his mother from the very beginning. Thank God times have changed a lot, so I will not be sleeping with any school administrators to get my son placed into programs; however, I will continue to have him enrolled in programs and be an active participant in his education. I was an active in-school volunteer for my daughters when they were growing up. Both of them are full-time college students now. (I told the pediatrician as well because it was the only ‘comeback’ I had for the “Forrest Gump” comparison.)
I was angry. Too angry to cry tears even. I had words of discontent for God, but didn’t dare utter them. I had to recite the Lord’s Prayer many times out loud before I felt myself calming down. I was pissed off like an employee who had been promised a holiday off, but then got scheduled to work it because of some issue beyond their control. I felt Jesus was betraying me, for having me and my son survive all we had to live like this–in the scrutiny of others and simplistic adolescent behaviors turned into complex obstacle courses. But, if I didn’t have this going on, I wouldn’t have anything to blog about because I’m basically a boring person. I mostly stay home, and take care of my family, a lot like Mrs. Gump, and I can’t be mad at that.