Warning: I am about to think out loud. Sometimes I stop and take a step back and make an observation that makes me chuckle at the absurdity, irony, or direction certain topics are heading. And I can laugh at myself when I find that I am a part of the irony. I hope you can just step back too, and see the humor in it all. If you can’t then you are taking me too seriously. Please don’t. No one in my house does.
Has any kid being tested for psychological/learning/behavioral issues in the last few years ever left the testing session having not had at least one diagnosis, condition, or recognized quirk?
Are there normal kids anymore?
Here I go again, a glutton for punishment for daring to look at things in a different way. Please feel free to respectfully disagree with my thoughts. Send all verbal assaults, unwarranted name calling, and hate mail to the Russians. It is quite possible that my train of thought has been unfairly influenced by my own incessant questioning and observation.
I think my kids are highly intelligent. I also think my kids are different, and annoying, and loving, and mean, and slow on the uptake in certain areas, and unquestionably genius in others. But, I have never had them tested; not for IQ level, learning disorders, sensory disorders, personality oddities, any spectrums, dengue fever, ambidexterity, or DNA ancestory to see if we can call Mozart, Uncle Amadeus.
But I’d like to get them tested. I know they are special. Proof and affirmation might be like letting myself and my kids off the hook of expectations, right? Sometimes I would like to have a doctor’s note to flash like an FBI badge to people when my kid acts like a poop when we are in public. Sort of a get-out-of-bad-mom’s-jail card.
After reading about so many children in studies, on-line and from friends on social media, I have actually gotten curious about what my own would be diagnosed with, and I have really considered getting the testing done. I want to know if what I observe is accurate.
When I hear about a new diagnoses or disorder sometimes I think, “Wait. That’s a thing? I have had that all my life. Would I have turned out different had I or my parents known? Would the world have treated me differently had I made it aware of my specialness?”
But wait. What if!?…Oh my!…What if…my kids are just normal? Would we be able to hold our heads up if it is found they don’t have any special abilities, require no special concessions, need no sympathy, or have no excuses for their behavior. How would I handle knowing that they are just being their ordinary boring selves. Just a poop. No glittering confetti of initials to sprinkle over their heads.
Is normal a diagnosis?
Seriously, is it? Because really it is quite an accomplishment these days to be one of the not too smart, but not too slow, not too talented, yet modestly skilled, healthy, yet not extraordinarily athletic, average, mostly compliant, not to outspoken, but not too withdrawn, miraculously middle of the road, normal kids. But how boring to be just…normal.
It seems there are new “conditions” being discovered every day. And ways to fix them, mask them, suppress them, work with them, enhance them, or even ignore them. There are fun groups for children who have them. And support groups for the parents to join because their kids have them. And colors to be worn. Marathons to be run. Bumper Stickers. Fundraisers. Star-studded lists of sufferers. Etc.
I could envision a parent losing their composure at hearing a final report of Normal after bringing their kid in for testing in hopes of gaining a validating diagnosis.
“You mean my kid is just being a poop?! I came up here and paid all this money for you to tell me he is just a…a…a nothing!? I demand a redo!
Sweety, show the nice lady how you can add momma’s grocery bill in your head in under 2 minutes while fidgeting uncontrollably and wringing your hands in that shirt you wear 4 times a week cause it has the right feel on your skin.
Seriously Doc, my friend’s kid was in here last week with the same behaviors and you gave him all kinds of special letters!”
With all the fanfare going on for the special kids, it must suck to have your kid labeled normal. How many would be offended if the parents of normal kids formed their own group where they can celebrate their normalness?
Maybe we should form a support group for those rare balanced kids who may feel left out of all the fuss and special accommodations. Let’s call it N.A.P. (Normal Awareness Prevention). The goal will be to prevent these poor children from becoming aware that they are just not different enough to join the other groups. They can take naps while everyone else is playing at the sensory table, and getting extra one-on-one help with their toughest subjects.
But if there is a label or diagnosis for every behavior and personality, then no one is normal, but rather, just untested. And if no one is normal, then no one is special. See how that works.
Truthfully, do the kids even care? I think it’s us parents who have mostly become fixated on having a reason for every unexplained, unusual or embarrassing behavior in our children. Maybe it is all just normal, cause we are all varying compilations of differences.
And if not, then what is normal? And what about the normal kids? Who is advocating for them? Maybe there are no normal kids. Maybe if we keep seeking labels we can eradicate normal completely. And then no one will be special.
I was just thinking…
Side note: The last time I wrote an article about the perceived, yet still questioned, giftedness and challenging behaviors of my own kids I was met with applause by most, but blasted with verbal grenades by others. Don’t you just love our society today? We are still entitled to our own opinion, but now other people feel it is their right…nay, their responsibility!… to stumble over themselves to be victims of that opinion. And they are loud, irrational, and character accosting. I have since licked my wounds and toughened my skin. And for the record, as was suggested by these victims, I am not a bigot, nor am I an uneducated bully (quite the contrary I have graduate degrees and what I believe are generally good manners and a mostly caring demeanor). And to answer one of my most vengeful readers; Yes, if my kids were ever diagnosed with a deadly disease, (God forbid) I would definitely seek the best medical care on the face of the earth and would even donate my own organs to keep them alive.