Can we talk about mental disorders and disabilities? I'd like to start out by saying that the movement in this decade to be completely PC about disabilities and mental retardation has driven out the facts and replaced them with sunshine, hearts and rainbows. What I mean is we are running around offending and trying not to offend making up words to replace previously banned versions of phonically correct words- we sound like lunatics! No offense to the Luna (moon) tics (crazies).
I myself am an overweight woman. Yes, yes I am. This butt indeed does make me look fat and that's just a fact. How crazy would it make me if I went to my doctor and was told, "Ali you are a specimen of orbital proportion who if left in your current state could develop a profound differently abled mannerism for procession glucose substances." Now how do I respond? "Oh, I feel terrible about this I'm going to have a donut and coffee and think about it." Right? It's what you'd do; admit it! Starbucks thrives off of us sensitive people. What I could really use is the doctor to say (and he has), "Ali, get off your butt and exercise. Watch what you eat or you could develop diabetes!" OK! Now I get it!
I was sitting in yet another doctor's office this time a psychiatrist, Leecy was being Leecy. Throwing papers around, coloring on the wall, running the doctors foot over with toy trucks and I'm whining, "Why can't she behave? What's wrong with her? When will her "delays" get caught up?!" The doctor had reviewed her medical history, birth record- full of drug and alcohol exposure, test, evaluations, poor speech progression, "delayed" ability to understand words that are said to her; the doctor looked up from her papers at me frankly and said, "She's mentally retarded." BAM! There it was. No sunshine and sugar coating shoved up my ---nose. No, excuse that maybe she'll "grow out of it", needs "a little more time" than the other kids, just needs more therapy. No, she handed me the diagnoses- the world's most obvious diagnoses considering she'd already been diagnosed with microcepholy which causes mental retardation, drug and alcohol exposure through out the entire prenatal gestation, severe speech delay, receptive, anxiety and attachment disorders. It should have been so obvious but mental retardation has become such a bad word. No one wanted to say it. They kept up this Pollyanna hope by describing Leecy's issues as "delays". Sure, Leecy is delayed ---till about the rest of her life! On the outside I probably nodded in the proper fashion to just hearing something like this about your child. "Hmm, hmm-hmm," I utter. On the inside I was thinking, "WTF?!" and "I probably shouldn't be putting her on time out anymore. "Can you imagine? I'm told by the pediatricians that she's just a girl who has delays and not to treat her any differently. So here I've been punishing (mildly) like any 4 year old would be for the appauling things she does when the whole time she was at the mental capacity of an 18 month old baby. I was putting a baby on time out, removing privelages from a baby all in the pediatrician's effort to not discriminate, limit, or have her feel bad for being different. With all the super frustrating behaviors Leecy's mental condition provokes I've been the mom who nearly takes her shoe off on her behind! Did you have one of those Moms's? Could nail you in the butt with her best pump form two rooms away? Leecy nearly had one too. I don't have such good aim though, you see. J
Once the definition of 'delay' was out I was able to get to the heart of the matter. I would have gotten there much sooner but I'm retarded. (C'mon, calm down! You know if you've spent anytime in the 70's or 80's you've heard yourself declare something is retarded too or the apparent much classier version of "like the Special Olympics." You know you have.)
It's time to stop being so offended and just start doing some living. Being a people, a whole people, who means well and does the best we can always. Not because we have to, are paid to, or are shamed to, but just because we want to.
Mental Retardation is not a bad word. It is a diagnosis given to my 4-yr-old daughter. It's not her fault, she didn't cause it and she's not going to be ashamed of it.