The Purpose of Genius

The letter came with the bills, two fliers, and a reminder that I desperately need to contact a random place for my extended car warranty. I tossed the trash and ripped open the letter.  The words burned in my head and my vision blurred.

“Mrs. Fields, this letter is to inform you that your son, Marvin Fields, has an IQ of XX and has an Intellectual Disability.”  The letter went on with all sorts of reasoning for this and the need for “immediate intervention” so “the realms of hell and chasms of time won’t implode”.   Well, it wasn’t quite worded that way, but it was the general gist of it.

I really didn’t want an IQ test.  Not because I am afraid of the results, but because I am afraid of how the world will view the results and treat my son.  But why does it matter?  Surely people look past that right?  Think again.

Let me show you how it already impacts my world with my daughter.  Here is what the first grade children did for math work during COVID this past year:

So this isn’t bad.  It’s fun, you can use manipulatives, make games out of it, and overall it aligns with state standards in math.

But my daughter is classified as having an Intellectual Disability.  Even though I pushed for adapted first grade work, as she is capable with supports in place AND has a right to learn alongside of her peers this is what I got:

Soooooo you can see where I have a little problem with this.  Not only was my daughter barred a majority of the year from learning with her peers the messages this sheet sends are loud and clear.
You are dumb.  You cannot possibly manage what your peers do.  Let’s not bother with state standards because it is a waste of time teaching you.  You need a separate curriculum in a separate classroom away from neurotypical children.

I don’t want that for either of my children.  They have a right to learn.  My son is more than a low score on a piece of paper.

He’s the kid who can take a piece of wood and carve an animal.  He put together my new desk today in our bedroom by himself.  He fixes items around the house.  He draws, paints, and can play piano (he hates the piano, but he’s got some mad skills at it).

At the end of the day my son’s happiness, his sense of adventure, spirit and determination are the things I want people to see.  Not some number that will determine whether his bar of learning will be raised or lowered.  Marvin’s genius and path he takes will only be limited by his own free choice. And that’s something that will never be quantified by a test.

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