Sandy, my 16-year-old, passed his Driver’s Permit test today. What a happy rite of passage: his first try too. What an accomplishment. It happened that this was the same day that Willie, my 22-year-old son with special needs, failed his IQ test. Who knew you could fail an IQ test.
Here's the backstory. Willie was granted a Consolidated Waiver which includes comprehensive funding from the government for his present and future programs. Now that was an accomplishment. What a process. So now he needed to have an up-to-date IQ test. I explained to the powers that be that this would be tough as he has lots of issues. But that he did complete an IQ test in 2004, would that suffice?
That answer was a definitive “NO!”
So today was the day. We went to the agency. We met the tester, a nice man, and I answered questions with Willie for the first 45 minutes. As his distress grew and grew, as the questions talked about his self-care and knowledge of the community, he became more more agitated. So that wise man said: “Why don't me and your mom go to the other room and finish the rest of this part?” Willie was relieved. You could hear his audible sigh of relief from Timbuktu.
So then we went back into the room where Willie waited and I left. Since Willie needs lots of support, we had talked all about the IQ test and how it just was a procedure he needed to go through. I brought some of his favorite books or rather he picked them out. I had a hopeful confidence that this IQ test could be completed, kind of.
Forty minutes later that kind man, who was testing Willie, came and found me in the lobby and said he was unable to complete the IQ test. When Willie was asked to count backwards, he refused. He shut down. When something is hard for Willie, this is a common reaction. After honest consideration and discussion, we left the agency. The first thing Willie said when we got in the car was: “Boy am I dumb." Yes, you could hear my heart breaking from Timbuktu.
Then of course we went to Target and out to lunch as promised. Willie picked out a new DS game. He had a deluxe mexican burger at Wild Wings. It was nice and cozy.
Two hours later, I took my other son to get his Driver’s Permit. The experiences were in stark reality to each other and a wake-up call to me about the differences between my non-special needs son and my special-needs son. Did Willie really fail his IQ test? Is that something that can really happen? And what will happen next?