And MY kid’s the one who’s got “problems!”

It is often attributed to Albert Einstein that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  I don’t know who said it, but I think they might as well have used the word “stupidity” rather than insanity.  I hate the word “stupid” but I can’t help using it right now…

J is, quite obviously, developmentally delayed and not up to par with his peers.  Heck, he’s far behind kids half his age.  However, he seldom makes the same mistake twice…he is easily guided to remember what it is that goes next in a process.  He is malleable in that sense…he LEARNS as he does and is guided.

Forgive the brief rant, but I have a surge of bile or acid or whatever you want to call it roiling up towards my brain.  Yes, my brain…

What the hell is up with people using the word “retarded” in such a throw-away manner and thinking it’s fine?????  I am sick of obviously insensitive people saying “oh, that’s retarded,” “you’re retarded if…,” “what a retard!”  Give me a friggin’ fraggin’ break!!!!  I’ve hinted, strongly, that I am displeased by the use of this word and yet -oh, wonder of wonders- people keep using it like it makes them sophisticated!!!!

Look…I KNOW my child is mentally retarded.  I know he has the mental age of a 2 year-old on a bad day and an eight year-old on a better day.  I am aware that, in an alternate reality, he would be a high school senior sneaking beer mugs out of the house to party with his friends all night.  He would have probably already had sex.  He would have probably been a good athlete or a fairly good student.  I get it…I’m not dumb!  But…

Something happened somewhere in his brain, and he’s none of those things.  He’s smart…in his own way.  He works hard to improve and he is very proud of his efforts, as are we.  He is a loving person who happens to have issues that he cannot control, but he works hard at controlling them…  We are a family who wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night knowing what we’re up against and working towards a goal…  We are a family that is preparing for a future of hard work for those who take over when we’re gone.  We get it…J is work because he isn’t “normal.”

Do people think that they are smarter or better equipped for life than he is just because that one little word tumbles out of their mouths so easily?  Is this feeding their sense of superiority?  Is this making them feel better about themselves?

I don’t know.  I just have to say, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I never used that word except in the most appropriate manner, even before I had J.  I was raised by people who taught me that you never know what the future holds for you.  I was raised by people who taught me that everyone out there, EVERYONE, is just like you in essence, and you have to love them and care for them in the hopes that they will treat you with the same respect you show them.

The word “retarded” is insulting because it boils down to nothingness what we work with every day.  It minimizes our children to something, not to somebody.  That people don’t take the hint, that we have to explain why it’s hurtful only to hear it or read it or experience it over and over again…that’s stubborn stupidity and ignorance.  J repeats himself a lot:  NOODLES, SODA, COOKIE, POPCORN, CHIPS, CHEESE, and such…

The kid who has no social skills to speak of; the kid plagued with a neurologically-motivated lack of empathy feels badly when he says something and the expression on your face droops even slightly…

Yet…the smart people of the world, the ones with friends, the ones with cool little kids who can quote Shakespeare even though they’re too young to understand what he wrote…they toss the word “retarded” around…

Yeah…MY KID is the one who’s not very “smart,” right???

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