Apr 10, 2009


We arrived right on time and were brought into a basement room with a large table. Surrounding the table were fifteen people all hydrated from their water bottles that lay on top. Greetings were made, seats were taken and cell phones turned off. I felt like we were meeting knights at the Roundtable. The head speaker, a student studying social work, began reading Ryder's case history.

Time passed, reading commenced and then it was the Psychology Department's turn. I prepared myself for the worst. I've been preparing all week to face what they would say. I don't even like to say it, or type it, in fear it would be true if I saw it written in words. The words stung me deep in the heart, even with my guard up. "Severe Mental Retardation" they said harshly, unaffected. "He's at the level of an 18 month old."

I managed to maintain my composure; and act professional, mimicking their faces.

"How did I get here?" I asked myself silently. For the last five and half years I've worked hard, taking Ryder to different therapies, trying different interventions, praying hard every day for this sweet boy. I know there's a reason for this angel boy to be in our home. I wish I had the answers. I try really hard not to ask the Lord why.

The Knights were all very professional; all taking their job seriously. The one thing they forgot was remembering that parents have feelings, hopes, and dreams for their child, and being "retarded" isn't one of them. Isn't the PC term "Cognitive Impairment" now anyway? It sounds a little more gentle to me. He still displays autistic tendencies, but they changed the diagnosis to Autism being secondary to MR.

They focused, of course, on everything he "doesn't do" or "cannot do" or "won't do".
But he DOES have better eye contact, better attention, and less pain, since implementing the GFCF diet, I thought to myself. He pointed for the first time ever- two days ago. And last week he went potty in the toilet for the first time. And at school yesterday, he said, "I want" to the teacher--very clearly. It's so easy to take for granted that a child's ability to learn is a gift.

A mother lives for their child to be successful. Even if the success is just looking at me for 3 seconds-into my eyes. Recognizing me. Yes, I am your mother. I exist.

As I type this, I can hear Ryder upstairs giggling to himself in his room. Or is he really alone up there? He has brought a piece of heaven to us, and continues to bring it amidst the trying times and challenges. I know angels surround him and they are always welcome in our home.


  1. This post made me tear up. Ryder IS an angel boy. A celestial being in your home. And you are the amazing mother to that celestial being.

  2. I'm sorry. :[

    I hope it leads somehow, somehow to better targeted services.

  3. Thank you for posting, I was thinking about you all day. It sounds so hard, you've done so much. You are a very dedicated mother to all your children. While reading your post I wanted to stand up and shout at the "knights of the round table" BUT let's talk about his mother has done! Let's review his successes! Let's consider their hearts and emotions.

  4. I've been to plenty of meetings like that. All I can say is they don't know. No one does. I was told Sam was nearly MR and he would never be better than that. Now he's nearly at grade level, reading, doing math. He's so far from where they said "get used to it". Keep doing your best for that wee man and whatever happens...happens. He has a great life now and he'll have a great life 30 years from now.

  5. I am so sorry. It's a hell of a thing for a parent to go through.

    I remember a couple years ago taking Isaac to CDRC for his evaluations and everything was PC and no new surprises... until a while later when I received the packet in the mail and there in print they'd put "mental retardation". I cried. And cried some more. The center apologized when I called to ask them about it and their excuse was that they don't usually use that term anymore.

    My son has made incredible improvements though, and went from being non-verbal and using ASL to being totally verbal and he's doing fantastic in school. He's really blooming and proving all those brainy doctors wrong.




Ernie and Oscar learn they like different things-great for kids on the Spectrum!