Determining Mental Retardation

Years ago, my oldest was evaluated before starting kindergarten (which we didn't follow through with, but that's another story.)  A psychologist was in the meeting and talked about his evaluation.  In the intelligence testing Sam was supposed to either point to or say the right answer.  It started off ok.  But the psychologist, under the rules of the test, was not allowed to tell Sam he had done well.  So eventually Sam stopped responding.  Even though the psychologist could see him looking at the right answer, he couldn't count it.

And so he gave him a diagnosis of mental retardation.

And my response was "You knew the test was a bad one, that it wasn't accurately measuring, but you took a conclusion from it anyway.  I'm sorry, who is retarded here?"

Nathan has been assumed to be mentally retarded because he has been untestable.  He would not cooperate with any testing.  Therefore he must be retarded, no?

The lady who oversees the his program for us stopped by today.  He no longer has daily people coming, because frankly, they were a hindrance.  They had less knowledge than us.  They often wouldn't get up and walk when he needed to walk outside.  They had more paperwork to do than help to give.  So we said "Go Away."  So much for state funded supports.  (Sam still has his.  Some are useful in certain situations.)

She was AMAZED at how well he was reading.  He sat down and read off a story about Kwanzaa and simply floored her.  His reading was fluid and hearable, whereas it used to be halting and inaudible.  He was able to answer questions with some support from his dad.

His dad tells me his reading comprehension is probably better than his older brother's.  He will look at the questions before reading a paragraph, so that he knows what he should be reading for.

This was a boy who was still working on the alphabet and simple writing words when he was in school 18 months ago.

Nathan is 12 years old now.  We have always known that there was intelligence there.  That it was hidden behind a wall of brain and body static.  This last year has been rough, and he is still not the easiest kid to have around.  But there is a treasure buried.  And I love seeing him uncover it with our help.

Assuming MR in a child who cannot communicate yet is a crap shoot.  All my friends will tell you that I am very competitive in any game.  Because I love winning.


  1. It is a given that our kids don't do well with IQ tests and I am with you on this.... this does not mean that they are MR! I think that with autism we have a whole new kettle of fish. Our kids have the power and it is a matter of tapping into it. Unfortunately in my case, when you put my son next to his nt peers... he is noticeably different and they would probably class him as MR because he is unable to communicate. :(
    Thank you for sharing.


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