Tuesday, November 22, 2005

normal


All I do is write, but not here. This evening I cranked out about 18 pages worth of evaluations. That is single spaced technical reporting. My hands are numb.

I've been spending a little time thinking about what I am choosing to write lately and what I am not choosing to write. There is a story I needed to record - and I will only put the snippet here for memory-jogging purposes, but there was so much behind it.

I have been considering the nature of disability, particularly as it relates to children. It is hard to be disabled as a child because so many people do so many things for you ANYWAY. The standards are just not the same as with adults.

Example: if an adult has a stroke and can't dress themselves, they are considered disabled. If a child has a stroke and can't dress themselves, the parent provides care. Because children are children, and because parents do what they do, the concept of disability is different with kids.

Hmmm.

Well a parent asked me an interesting question the other day. She brought her child to me, asking me for help in determining the nature of the problem for her daughter who was failing in school - except that the school is just pushing her through to the next grade. The child has severe social problems and has some severe perceptual difficulties, but you wouldn't know this by reading the school reports that indicate there is no problem. Mom asked me, "Maybe there really is nothing wrong. Is that possible? Maybe she really is just fine?"

I thought for a moment and I considered the thousand or so kids who had similar problems but whose parents don't do anything. I also considered the kids in inner city areas where there are no resources and no advocates to see that any programs are developed. I also considered the kids in the 1900s who couldn't learn so they dropped out of school and went to work in the factories.

There is a normative curve of function to consider. Someone has to be low average, or even below average. This is dictated by simple statistics.

This leads to the real answer: Your child is only as disabled as they are unable to reach toward your greater aspirations for them, assuming that those aspirations fall at least minimally within the realm of reasonable expectations.

Is this an accurate statement?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My 9 year old daughter came home from school yesterday crying and begging me to homeschool her. She stated that she never wanted to go back to third grade - or 4th either! She went this morning as a favor to her mother. It was the right thing to do. After all, I said, "please."
She has high ability, and low performance, according the IOWA/CoCAT scores. Does she have a learning disability? I don't know. Her teacher thinks she's lazy. I think there more to it than that, but I'm not sure if defining her as 'disabled' will benefit her in ANY way. Maybe she's just fine, but is not the type of person who will thrive in an educational setting. Or maybe she's lazy...
I don't know...
Putting her on the bus this morning made me cry.
Julie