While my home life was going good, I was also being given psychological tests to see if there was anything mentally wrong with me. I guess it was well meaning, but I wish there wasn't the "natuarl" assumtion that if there is something "wrong" with my face that there must be something wrong with my mind as well. I have heard from other clefts too and they all got the same label that I did.... We were mentally retarded.
Now how did professional doctors get to this kind of conclusion? According to what Mom has said, they ran different type of tests on me when I was still a baby. One that sticks out in my mind the most is when they sat me down and gave me a toy to play with. After a couple minutes of watching me play with it they would take it away and watch my reaction.
Well, I didn't have a rection. I just sat there calmly and watched the toy leave and didn't throw a fit or go after the toy. To them, there was something wrong with me because that's not how "normal" babies act. Maybe I was very mature at an early age with things like that and had the idea of sharing already understood or something :). But it bothered the doctors.
After who knows how many tests they came to the conclusion that I was mentally retarded. They told my parents that I was too slow (well, I am slow at some things, but it doesn't mean I'm not good at it :) ) and I wouldn't be able to go to regular public school because I wouldn't do well.
Mom (unlike me ;) ) threw a fit and told them that they didn't know me as well as they thought . Other than me looking different, I was just fine. And she didn't care what they said, she was going to enter me iinto regular public school.
After going into preschool, I went into a regular elementary school, Orange City Elementary. After graduating kindergarten and going into first grade, I was about to start really proving the doctors wrong...without me know even it....
Every year all the kids would get tested for where they were in math and reading skills. And like all the other kids, I had to take the test. What came back was very interesting....I had a higher reading ability than the average first grader. This thrilled my parents, particular mom :).
My teacher and mom would meet after school to talk about what to do with me. Should I skip first grade and go right into second? After meeting with the principal and the teacher a few times, they decided to let me go into second within that same school year.
I knew that it wasn't typical that kids skipped like that, but I just went along with it. My usual schedule after I began second was to go to my first grade class and drop off my lunchbox, then head over to my second grade class (where I remember nightmares of learning to count paper money...not being able to look on the back of nickels and quarters drove me batty!!) and working in phonics workbooks. When it was my forst grade class's time for lunch, I would leave second and join my first grade class.
Anyway, I adjusted very well and had no major problems keeping up with the others. So Mom told my doctors about this and, unfortunately, the doctors didn't take back what they said. I don't think I knew anything about being labeled retarded at the time so I wasn't trying to prove anyone wrong. I naturally had some brains :).
However as the years went by and I got into junior high school, things began to change. I don't know why but all of a sudden I began to be called "ugly", "stupid", etc. I have even been spit at...all by kids. If adults had any negativites about me, they usually kept it to themselves.
The toughest group were boys. Girls rarely ever made fun of me. I guess that was because girls are usually a little more caring than boys are (not to say that all boys don't care!). Boys would say that so-and-so wanted to date me and then that guy would say "no way" and then they would laugh and say "yes you do"...so on and so forth.
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The last time I got around to updating this page was Friday, October 20, 2000