Yesterday, at my daughter's triennial (a meeting held every 3 years to determine whether special needs kids still qualify for the services they are receiving) we got the official word from the school district: WG has been given a diagnosis of mild mental retardation, along with Autism. We were first told of the possibility 3 years ago, when she was in preschool. They're saying that with the intensity and duration of her services that if it were just Autism she'd be further along, developmentally, than she is.
I took the news well at the time. It doesn't change her eligibility, her school placement (thank G-D!!!!!), or any of her services. In fact, they are adding an extra 15 minutes per week of O.T/Floortime, which was requested BEFORE the diagnosis.
Most importantly, it doesn't change HER. She is who she is. My ZayZay/Godzalea, Li'l Bunny, thighs/abs/arms/buns of Steel (she is buff and STRONG!!!!!!). We talked about ways to hep her communicate, to empower her to get what she needs (which will also cut down on the hair pulling, scratching, etc.). We collaborated, brainstormed, and dished about how cute/funny/smart she is.
And this morning she woke up in a GREAT mood! It's amazing how that little smile just lights up the universe, and how much we miss it when it's not there. They're bringing out the kiddie pools at school today, so that will make her VERY happy, as well.
I also noticed, just a few minutes ago, that yesterday I was feeling particularly fat. After the meeting.
And that I ate more than I was hungry for. And started thinking about all the stuff I had to do today in order to "make up" for my mini-binge.
Part of that was my ol' buddy PMS, but I also think a big part of it was not only hearing the diagnosis, but having to be the one to tell Hubby and other family members about it. It was REALLY HARD. And a couple of folks are in complete denial over it.
Which, I have to realize, is NOT my problem. They will deal with it as best they can. I have my own crap to worry about. I CANNOT take on other peoples' emotions. I've done that for too long, and it is SOOOOO not healthy! I can be empathetic, sympathetic, and lend an ear. But I CANNOT "fix" other peoples' emotions or lives, and I refuse to take that on anymore.
We have such a negative connotation of mental retardation. We equate it with stupidity. Just look at how we use the words "retard" and "retarded." We say "He's such a retard!" or "That's SO retarded" when we want to insult someone or something. My kids are actually quite intelligent, and I resent the implication.
But I guess I also have some grieving left to do. For the IDEA of what my kids would be. Granted, the reality is pretty awesome, but there is a part of me that wishes they could be typical. Their lives would be easier.
I also have to deal with the fear of what WILL happen. The future. I was talking to the O.T about this yesterday, about the fact that we are in the midst of a autism boom; kinda like the baby boom, but with a twist. There are SO MANY kids being diagnosed with Autism! Most of them are under 12 right now, but they are growing up. And we are going to need support systems in place for the adults that they become. The good news, she pointed out, is that, unlike the baby boomers, these kids have people to advocate for them; us. The parents, teachers, caregivers ans therapists of autistic kids. WE are the ones who have to pave the way for them. And we will!!!!!!!
The other day I decided not to continue with my voiceover classes. As much as I LOVE the people there, and will miss them terribly, I just can't do it anymore. I'm done with trying to perform professionally. It makes me very unhappy, and there's no reason for me to get back into that cutthroat competition. Besides, I'm going to need that time and energy to advocate for my kids, and everyone else with special needs!
And, on a somewhat shallow note, I'm thinking I'm just gonna have to grin and bear it: if I wanna lose weigh, then along with changing my relationship to food, I'm gonna have to do some intense cardio, most days of the week. When I look back at how I lost the weight after giving birth, it was cardio-rama. Time to get back on that horse (yeah, I WISH I had a horsie!). Or bike. Or walking shoes. Or HiiT DVDs.
Wish me luck!!!!!