Monday, January 17, 2011

Political Correctness Run Amok - MLK Day

At four, big brother was finally let into the secret of different skin colors during an MLK celebration at his pre-school. I think that this is something that kids figure out in due time without our help and the irony was not lost on me that a celebration of Martin Luther King's life's work to teach that we are all created equal, Big Brother finally learnt that we are different. Now this is in a private pre-school so it was not as if there was some State mandate to teach this.

Fast forward two years later, and big brother's first grade class is treated to a movie presentation of Martin Luther King's assasination. Granted it is a cartoon, and maybe I am rather slow in feeding my six year old a diet of cartoon images of violence and death, but still I think it is a bit much. I think in our efforts to out do each other in how much we esteem diversity (never mind the fact that I live in a supposedly pretty liberal and diverse state, but where racial segratation is the norm in most neighborhoods) I think sometimes we forgo commonsense. I am having to fast track teaching my six year old about prejudice and hatred based on race because the public school system in its quest to be politically correct has introduced concepts that I think are a bit premature for six year olds. Kids can be pretty cruel on their own and in trying to find their place in the playground pecking order, I think sometimes in our politically correct world, we give them things to add to their arsenal. I am sure most four year olds leave alone six year olds do not intrinsically use race as a weapon in the pecking order wars, but I think adults introduce this concept, even when we think we are doing good. Not sure this is really what MLK fought for and died for.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Mental Retardation, Autism, PDD-NOS........

Just when I thought I had my mind wrapped around Baby Boy's autism diagnosis, I get thrown for a loop! We have been getting Baby Boy services based on his developmental pediatrician's provisional diagnosis of autism and the school district testing has all been geared towards getting an I.E.P in place to best address his needs based on an autism diagnosis. Today we had more testing with a psychologist from the Regional Center to determine if the Regional Center would continue providing services past age three. I may be totally reading it wrong, but it seemed like the psychologist came into the testing trying to discount Autism. The psychologist did not even know that we had been seing a developmental pediatrician (probably because she had not read his file - something she could have been doing during the 30 minutes we were waiting past our appointment as she chit-chatted with the receptionist).  She found the report after I pointed out it had been faxed months ago and she quickly skimmed through it before beginning the testing. The thing she immediately latched on was that the diagnosis was provisional - said that fact really helped her, but at the time I was not really sure why. The testing that had been scheduled for 3 - 4 hours only took 1 1/2 hours which included asking all the intake questions (that were already on his file) and also included the psychologist keeping up with her texting! Boy did she try to get baby boy to "pass" his test! She would get into his line of vision, loudly call his name and work totally hard to make eye contact! She also spent 20 minutes trying to get him to feed a doll. She does get an A+ for effort! When the test was completed, she told me he seemed to make good eye contact (any child would if you kept at it for almost an hour) and he had good pretend play skills! Wow, if someone repeatedly showed me and told me to do the same thing more than thirty times in a twenty minute time span, I am not sure that would qualify for good skills! She would ask qualifier questions to try to discount things that everyone has observed that fall on the autism spectrum. She then concluded the indications were more in line with mental retardation and the school district would best address his needs! Bottom line was she felt he would not qualify for Regional Center Services.

She could be a psychologist worth her title and a pretty efficient one at that that she takes less than 1/2 the time others in Baby Boy's team take to do the same testing, but the fact that she begun the testing already wanting to discount autism while others seem to be leaning in that direction and the fact that she contracts with the regional center and it would be in the Regional Center's best interests to get a diagnosis that they would not be obligated to pay for services makes me a little suspicious. That and the not comforting discovery while researching Mental Retardation that African American children are much more likely to get a mental retardation diagnosis while white children get an autism diagnosis when presenting with the same behaviors. Not sure if it is denial and I still want to hold on the the dream that baby boy could very well be an autistic savant sinces he occasionally dispays some flashes of brilliance. A mental retardation dx kinda puts a damper on that dream (never mind the probability of that actually being the case is practically nil - there are only about 25 known living autistic savants). But a mama can dream! Oy Vey!