I don’t even know what to say
Dear Developmental Disabilities Council,
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you so much for erasing in one “fell swoop” our daughter’s developmental disabilities associated with her autism diagnosis. The intake worker at our local DD office told my husband and me this afternoon that she does not qualify for DD services because her IQ is too high, and DD services are based solely on IQ numbers. You might have noticed my husband’s reddened face and how he quickly excused himself to go to the grocery store. Thank you for letting me sit in your air conditioned office for a few more minutes while he ran that pesky errand 98 degree weather. The air conditioning recently went out in our Suburban and your office was a welcome reprieve from the blistering heat!
Apparently the fact that our daughter can not function in a group of people for more than a half an hour, even if they are kids her own age doing an activity she normally would like to do, is not a disability that gets in the way of her development at all. And I’m sure now that you’ve told her that she doesn’t have developmental disabilities she’ll act just like every other 12 year old. I’m sure we’ve just exaggerated the extent of her inability to interpret what other kids are saying, what the expressions on their faces mean, and what they mean when they say certain phrases. Maybe we could take some parenting classes. I’m so relieved that the days of her misinterpreting people’s jokes, gentle teasing and how people can change the inflection of their voices are over. We’ve had SO MANY complete meltdowns (parents included by the end of it) because she didn’t understand that someone can periodically use a different tone of voice and not be angry. Let me tell you, if a child can’t understand how to interpret someone’s body language, or the expression on their face, or they can’t understand that sometimes people use different tones of voices, it can REALLY get in their way of them maturing socially and be able to develop in that very critical area of their lives. I’m SO glad that’s behind us.
And let’s talk about the rigidity directly associated with autism spectrum disorders that has really been a stumbling block to her overall development. Thank GOODNESS that doesn’t exist anymore! Does this mean that when someone says “You can come over at 1:30” but we can’t actually make it there till 1:45, she won’t go into a tizzy? ‘Cuz I gotta tell you, that is going to be FREAKING awesome to put those days behind us!! Just last week she berated a speech therapist after an evaluation because, in her words, “There should not be anything like 1-“ish”. People should either say one o’clock or the exact time they mean, but none of this “ish” business”. But now that you’ve told us that she doesn’t have any developmental delays, coping with how “ish” the rest of the world can be is going to be so much easier.
I know I’ve only mentioned a couple of the developmental disabilities that have so far hindered her overall development, of course there are more. Things like not being able to watch a television show without pausing it part way through because she has a hard time processing all the information. Or how in the middle of a conversation she will frequently say, “Stop. I haffa think about something”, and how you have to stop at that exact moment in time and not breathe a word or move a muscle or she completely loses her mind. Those are pesky little things that can really get in the way of learning and achieving academic goals, which speak to her larger goals of what she would like her life to look like someday. We thoroughly enjoy how having autism has made our daughter extremely creative, very insightful on levels rarely seen in a child, and has made her very sensitive to those around her, so it’s just so nice to know that her IQ meets your arbitrary standard and that as a result, the developmental disabilities that have so far greatly affected her daily quality of life, are no longer going to be a factor.
A mom who’s now going to have a lot more time to read trashy romance novels, now that she doesn’t have to spend so much time researching methods and strategies for remediating the core developmental disabilities and deficits associated with autism. Also, maybe I’ll finally be able to take up tennis, now that I can leave my 12 year old home alone for an hour at a time….
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