Tony and I had a meeting yesterday with the developmental pediatrician that tested Janey a few weeks ago. She, like many people before, hedged on giving us anything like an IQ score, but she told us that on the tests she did (which were actually for kids younger than Janey, as tests for her age would probably be totally unusable) Janey tested as low as she could, beneath the 1st percentile. She said at this point Janey could be diagnosed as having, in addition to autism, an "intellectual disability". Which means, to use the older phrase, retardation. She said that can't be diagnosed before age 7, which is part of why it wasn't diagnosed before.
So...well. I already knew that, of course. But hearing it still wasn't a great deal of fun. I know Janey has skills the test can't test, but overall, I know it's correct. The doctor said Janey can't be expected to ever read for meaning, to do much of anything ever academic, and that spending much time on academics is a bit of a waste of time for her. She thinks Janey needs a different school placement. I don't agree there, for now. Janey will stay where she is at least until after 5th grade. But I do appreciate getting a longer term view of what can be expected. Which, frankly, is not a lot of progress.
I don't mean to sound like I'm giving up on Janey. I know what the movie or book or dramatic response should be. I should say "I'll prove you wrong!" and go on to work tirelessly with Janey every second, right up until the day she graduates from medical school. But that's fantasyland. I will never give up on Janey, but I live in realityland. I can see it's extremely hard for Janey to learn. I am devoted to her---to giving her the best life I possibly can within her limitations. I don't think it serves her to try to make her be what she isn't. I want to work to her strengths, and she does have strengths.
For some reason, all this has been making me think about religion, and how I wish sometimes I could be more of a believer. This is partly because when I read other blogs, it seems like it's such a help to many parents of autistic kids. I keep thinking about the phrases "God only gives you what you can handle" and "God has a plan" I know those aren't Bible quotes, but they are said a lot by people that are believers. I feel like whoever doles out challenges, God or fate or whatever, has given me a lot more than I can handle, or maybe I should say handle well. You handle what you get, because what choice do you have? But no-one gets my best. I can't be the parent I want to be to any of my three kids. I can't be the wife I want to be, or the friend I want to be, or the community member I want to be. And if God has a plan, in some ways that makes me less likely to be a believer. It seems like it would be a mean kind of God who would make plans that involve making a little girl autistic and intellectually disabled. I know it's supposed to be part of a bigger picture thing. But I don't think that's the God I would choose to worship. I hope I am not insulting anyone saying this. I have the hugest respect for people that believe. I truly wish I did. I can't make myself. I wish I could. All I can think of to keep a possibility of faith alive is that maybe it is part of God's plan that I don't believe right now. And it's a little convoluted!
So, we go on. Nothing has changed. I heard what I already knew. Janey is who she is. I love her, as Mr. Rogers taught me to say, just the way she is.