Saturday, May 02, 2009
Nate had his check-up recently. He’s exactly 1.5 years old. His pediatrician tracks him on the “typical” charts because as he puts it, “Nate continues to blow the doors off of every stereotype we have for Ds.” So he doesn’t even bother using the Ds growth chart because he is over the 100th percentile. Currently Nate runs in the mid-range of the “typical chart” like most “typical” kids. So that got me thinking again about this word, “typical” and why we use it in the place of “average” or “normal” when discussing these types of things. I look at his gorgeous face, so round and chubby with his sparkling eyes that dance and play and I think, gee…his eyes are perfectly symmetrical. His ears are placed just right. His little head is round and his hair is blond and grows just so to the nape of his neck. I love to look at his little fingers…so wonderfully shaped just like his dad’s. He has awesome feet and toes that graduate down in size just like they’re supposed to….what exactly does it mean that he is not “typical?” Does the medical expression of this word mean not meeting the expectation of most children in whatever age range the child is placed in? And is that measured in physical terms like height and weight? Scholastic terms? Physical ability terms? My eldest son would be considered typical. He’s athletic, handsome, smart, not an ounce overweight…he’s just right. But….he takes medicine to help him focus in school. Does that make him not typical? What about my nephew’s friend that does great academically, but has no limbs? Which one of these boys is typical…the one who does well academically without the help of medicine or the one who does well physically? Neither? Both? What about the child who does really well in school, but fails to meet the athletic abilities of children her age (in the absence of a handicap?) Is she still typical? I have a friend whose daughter never crawled…just scooted around on her bum until she walked. So if typical is crawling by 8 months, walking by 10 months... then she wouldn’t be typical of that, but she’s still typical….it’s so confusing! Of the children who are grossly overweight and can’t run or play on the playground, or who need speech therapy….and we’ve all seen those kids that are so adorably tiny for their age-for no apparent reason, just small structured…what about them? Not very typically-typical, I guess. Maybe it just means these kids don’t have a diagnosis so that makes them typical. I have a blogger friend who posts pictures of her lovely daughter who is only 9 months old and she is nearly standing on her own! That is not only NOT typical of children who are typical, it’s incredible for a child with Ds! (Way to go, Ruby!) So what does it mean? Because Nate does not stand on his own yet, and he is 9 months older than Ruby, what does that mean for his lack of typical-ness? Even less typical? But physically Ruby tracks on the Ds charts and is in the 50% at the most...and Nate is off the charts….never was on the Ds chart to begin with. Does that make Nate more typical? Do we really know anybody who is typical? Why can’t we all just be who we are…the incredibly wonderful creation of a loving God, instead of charting, graphing and averaging everyone. We all make a lot of noise about the “r” word. I suggest we all boycott the “t” word!
Posted by Jill Kocian