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Apr 19 2013

On My Mother’s Refusal to Label Me Special Needs

By at 10:11 am

adam w. 13-year-oldLast week, we published a blog post by Alina Adams entitled “Why I Wouldn’t Let My Son Be Labeled Special Needs.” The post, which explained why Alina declined to sign Adam up for special benefits at school that he qualified for due to an Auditory Processing Disorder, sparked a lively debate on Kveller. Many readers were interested to hear her son’s point of view on the matter, so here is a letter from 13-year-old Adam himself.

Hello Kveller readers,

I, Adam, will now offer my own opinion on my mother’s most recent article about how I wasn’t classified as special needs.

First and foremost, I would like to say that my mother’s writing on this occasion was relatively close to truth. Yes, she exaggerates once in awhile about what I said. I mean, some of her quotes seem more like summaries than it being verbatim. Still, I will now rebut and comment on this piece all about me and my problems.

The first paragraph seems to be relatively true. The thing is, I don’t remember any of this since I was a baby. About my large head, that is very true. In pictures of baby Adam, I look like a disproportionate cartoon character. About the whole talking thing, it is true that I couldn’t talk then, but I’ve made up for lost time. I can and do talk a lot more now.

Also, since I go to a very intense school where we have a whole class called “General Knowledge,” the snob in me would like to point out that the distance between New York and San Francisco is more 3,000 miles than 5,000.

Moving on: At school, it was all true about me being the youngest (I was the third youngest to be exact). Some boys in my grade are over a year older than I am. About me possibly being held back in kindergarten, I’ve been told that I was not the brightest. But Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha, I got into some of the best public schools in New York, so all is much better than it was (though we won’t speak of my B+ quarter in Latin; failure, I tell you!)

Now speech therapy, I remember some aspects of it. I remember playing with flash-cards and recording my voice on a tape recorder, where I learned how to whistle. I’ve lost the ability, though. Anyway, I did speech therapy for a little while until my therapist fled to Wisconsin.

Let me talk more about school, though. I remember doing things like practicing reading out loud and failing the auditory portions of standardized tests, but acing the reading portions. I could read since I was 4, but I couldn’t speak as well, which might have caused many of the problems that affected me later in life.

Special needs are a big topic, but, for me, with the people I know, it is simply a way to beat the system. I sometimes wish that I was classified as such, since maybe I could get an audio recorder and extra time on tests.

I wouldn’t mind, from time to time, to have the specialness. I quite like feeling special.

It is true that I’ve asked my mom to be classified as such, and she has said–in her own inspirational and direct way–“No.”

She also said that if I really wanted to be classified special needs, that I could do it myself. I would do it on my own, but I’m afraid of hospitals, doctors’ offices, and nurses’ offices. Then again, maybe I could use the fact that I have a real disorder to my advantage to avoid gym. It seems to me that nowadays everyone has a disorder, ADHD or something with some other acronym. I could actually fit in for once, if I were classified as special needs.

I’ve read some of the Facebook comments and here is what I have discerned from in between the positive reinforcement and the criticism: 1/3 says that my mother is right and that she should inspire me or something; another 1/3 says absolutely nothing related to the corresponding article; while the final 1/3 criticizes my mother and thinks I’m being abused, that I have no opinion, that my mother has a large ego that doesn’t allow input and that she is making life harder for me.

These comments are partially true. About the inspiration part, I would quite like some of my mother’s quotes as magnets. As for the negative comments, they do have a partial truth to them. My mother does make life harder for me at times. I have chores, which I’m sure you’ve all read about and I have to take my brother to school, which is hard and annoying.

Now, about the whole abuse thing: It’s not really that true. I just don’t always get what I want. And I do have my own opinions. I just haven’t had a published, official one until now. If you still think I’m being abused, though, I would quite like some care packages, maybe filled with gummy worms, or oatmeal raisin and sugar cookies.

Sometimes I do feel like my mother is the “Party” from 1984 who twists my words to her advantage in order to stir up controversy and readership. Most of the time, though, my mother says the truth.

But not always. That’s when you need a curly-headed 13-year-old to speak the truth.

I hope you have gained some insight into how my mind works and what goes on in my head when I read an article.

I’m sorry if I sound snotty, but that’s who I am.

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Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on Kveller are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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