While waiting for speech evaluation, we changed daycare, and my husband and I took K to a retreat – basically graduate students and faculty members go to mountain cabins with a conference facility and present their work either orally or by poster. I didn’t have to present, but my husband did. K and I walked along the lake and played. He didn’t like to interact with me although he did respond to my call. He preferred to play alone. He particularly liked watching leaves waving in a wind. It was fall, so he also played a lot with fallen leaves. Just throwing and watching. By that time, I was very seriously worried about him having serious developmental delay. During the search, sometimes the word “autism” appeared but it wasn’t a perfect match. Rather, “mental retardation” matched what K did.
We brought a very spicy dish (stir-fried bean thread) with us. K liked VERY spicy food. He could take spicy food that was too spicy for even me. He ate some jar food, but definitely prefers curry or chili flavored dish. In fact, during the meal time, he ate ONLY that spicy bean thread. There were a lot of food that toddlers could eat and the cook and server were asking if K needs specially processed food, but I knew he wouldn’t eat any of them so I declined, feeling so sorry for them and myself.
In the cabin, I tried to teach him to use a puzzle (a wooden box with various shapes of hole and a matching wooden block). K didn’t get it. I was so irritated and scared then yelled at my husband “K may be mentally retarded.” At this point, my husband had no concern at all. He was very irritated that I had such a negative attitude. He scolded me that K was absolutely normal and it was me who were wrong.
(Note: I am fully aware that the use of R-word is totally inappropriate, and I oppose the use. However, this was the direct translation of the Japanese word I used then (2001). Please forgive me if you feel upset about my language use. I was one of those who “didn’t get it”).
The appointment of the speech evaluation was two days after I finish my Ph.D.. My mentor had planned a party for me. I was doing final printing on cotton paper, taking the copies to professor’s room, getting signatures from committee members. Two emotions were going on simultaneously – elation that I’m completing my Ph.D., and fear/worry/devastation that K has a developmental delay.
To be continued.