Why do people think your son is retarded when he actually has a problem?

Wendi - posted on 05/13/2009 ( 19 moms have responded )

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My son was called mentally retarded by his school and I got him tested and come to find out he has ADHD. Why do people just assume they are retarded? I dont call ADHD retarded.

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Janet - posted on 02/16/2011

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It is Feb. 2011 and I really wanted to post something interesting for those who have remarked on the issue of the school using the word "Retarded" and not believing it or stating that the Mom was over sensitive. I would just like to inform you of this interesting fact. In the state of Texas the word "Retarded", " Mild Mental Retardation" and "Severe and Profound Retardation" at least in several districts, these words are still being used. I went to two ARD's last week! Next year for 2012 they are looking at changing the names. Ofcourse a parent is going to be over sensitive when it comes to their child. We not only have to worry about the learning and school part but about every aspect of their lives. intellectual, Social, and Emotional. I know a parent has every instinct to act like a lioness! Have you ever noticed telling someone to calm down when they are upset just makes them react worse? Never tell a Mother she is over sensitive or over reacting about her child! I realize this post is in response a couples years after the start of this thread but I wanted to post this. Yes, I am a mother of a child labeled " Mildly Mentally Retarded"

[deleted account]

I actually just had my son tested for ODD (opposition disorder) and the test for ADD automatically goes hand in hand since a lot of kids will have both disorders. He ended up not being diagnosed with it, but just having traits of ODD. A child with ADD or ADHD is not retarded or even have a learning disability. Like one other said, he needs to get an IEP with the school. He will also probably begin therapy and some meds. I know there are groups on facebook devoted to various disorders. Research them and ask parents what meds have worked for their kids. I've heard some having bad side effects.

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Girl I so would be in that principals office tomorrow and be talking to the school board if I didn't get an apology immediately!! there are already too many labels~
Be sure you fight to get him an IEP- Individual Education Plan. It makes a HUGE difference!!!! There are programs for our kids out there that work if you know what to ask for. ALWAYS FIGHT FOR YOUR CHILD~ YOU ARE THEIR ADVOCATE! DON'T WORRY ABOUT BEING "NICE" WHEN IT COMES TO THIS ISSUE!!!

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Victoria - posted on 02/16/2011

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People tend to overuse the word "retarded". I find it to very interesting that it's a broad generalization that seems to just be socially acceptable for people to use.
My husband was diagnosed with ADD and several forms of dyslexia in elementary school. So he was placed in Special Education classes with and IEP. He also was placed in Advanced Placement classes because he is very smart.
I have a brother who also was diagnosed with ADD. He is also very smart but had problems in school.
I HATE when people use the term "retarded". If I were you I would just correct people, remind them that ADHD is an attention problem. And then be sure to file for that IEP.
(ADD was recently "re-categorized" to fall under the heading of ADHD)

Shanee - posted on 05/17/2009

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children are cruel but adults are just plain stupid! My son was born with a heart defect and was extremely small. Adults can be really ignorant and narrow minded instead of seeking results they automatically assume the worst and most humilliating things. Don't let ANYONE cause you to be upset or ashamed of your childs situation you are his biggest fan and ally and only you can encourage him and help him to overcome this. GOOD LUCK TO YOU AND YOUR SON!

Wendi - posted on 05/17/2009

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My son will be starting high school this fall and Iknow that he might do better....We willwait and see..Thanks to everyone. I iwll take everything to heart.

Crystal - posted on 05/15/2009

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Quoting Wendi:

Ty everyone for responding. My son now is 14 now and has been dealing with this ADHD for years now and has taken med after med and cant find the right one for him. Yes when he was tested fromthe school they said he was mentally retarded. You dont have to believe me or not but I have papers to prove thats what was said. I love the feedback....its just a very hard thing to understand. You really have to be careful what you say to your child. Thanks to everyone.



what state do you live in?maybe i can be of assistance>

Amanda - posted on 05/14/2009

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I dont call anything retarded because it is a demeaning term. mentally challenged is preferd. ADHD is a condition and you should speak to the head of the school to clear this up. giving a child a lable like "retarded" can really have a huge impact on his self esteme. This is unfair of them and unprofessional. Please speak to the administrators of the school. if it becomes a big issue I would change schools. Perhaps a private school with smaller classes to give him more attention and help with his CONDITION.

My daughter also has adhd so I do understand you.

good luck, I hope things turn out the best for you and your son.

Wendi - posted on 05/14/2009

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Ty everyone for responding. My son now is 14 now and has been dealing with this ADHD for years now and has taken med after med and cant find the right one for him. Yes when he was tested fromthe school they said he was mentally retarded. You dont have to believe me or not but I have papers to prove thats what was said. I love the feedback....its just a very hard thing to understand. You really have to be careful what you say to your child. Thanks to everyone.

Crystal - posted on 05/13/2009

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I see that others our giving you great advice about getting him an IEP. But having ADHD doesn't automatically mean you get one. The ADHD has to interfer with his education significantly. Also, try to control his actions/symptoms/outburts by behavior management and diet before you go to meds. Make sure that the school regardless of if he gets an IEP are making accomodations for him. Make sure that they have copy of the diagnosis in your sons file. I don't know what kind of insurance you have but if you have to see a behavior specialist that cost. If you are stuggling financially try to apply your son for SSI disability to help pay for those doctor bills. I hope this helps you.

Crystal - posted on 05/13/2009

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As a mother who has a child with a learning disability and also a special education teacher, that us just ridiculous. I pray it was not an employee of the school. If there were trying to let you know there is an issue with his learning abilities, it certainly should have been put another way. Ignorance is way people say the things that they say. They just don't think. There is a lot of attention out there about autism and down sydrome, which is great, but I think that there needs to be a movement for people to understand about what it means to have a child with special (unique) needs. That it can range from a speech issue, to having ADHD, to having a child who is severly mentally retarted. People there is a difference.

Michelle - posted on 05/13/2009

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mentally retarded is something that should really have gone out with shock therapy! thats horrid....i have 2 kids with aspergers and people will make stupid comments all the time because they can't think outside the square and offer any practical help...much easier to sit back and criticise....! i totally agree with kelley...you are going to be the one who will need to fight for your boy...good luck!

Julie - posted on 05/13/2009

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I, also, doubt that the school system ever used the word "retarded". The term they use now is "learning disabled". I have one step son with ADD and 2 who are learning disabled. It took the school system years of trying interventions and testing before anyone would place a label on the boys. I also have a psychology/counseling background...and would venture to say that both ADD/ADHD and most learning disabilities are dealt with by the school system in much the same way...individualized educational planning...meaning the school and parents become a "team" to address the individual needs of the child!!! At least, that is the way it has worked in my world! I think it simply may be very difficult for a mom to hear that there is something imperfect about her child...thus the defensiveness...

Sara - posted on 05/13/2009

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Wow, as a former teacher I have a hard time believing he was called retarded by a school official. Typically (at least in my state) kids are first referred for an evaluation, then have to undergo multiple tests before they would be diagnosed or labeled as mentally retarded - and I don't believe they even use that term any more - Cognitively disabled is the term where I'm from. I hope you're just upset that someone questioned his development, and didn't really call him "retarded". Sometimes things are misinterpreted - just as I'm sure a mom of a child with a Cognitive Disability might be offended when you say your child "actually has a problem" which could seem to imply that a cog disability isn't a problem.



As someone mentioned above, get him evaluated for an IEP. Then your school district will have to make accomodations if they are appropriate, and at the very least all his teachers will be aware that he has been diagnosed with ADHD. Most teachers have had experience teaching children with children with ADD/ADHD. Unfortunately, some feel it's overdiagnosed which can reduce the "validity" of a true diagnoses. I have taught many kids that were diagosed with ADD/ADHD, and with some kids, I could tell immediately if they forgot their meds that day. Hopefully you can find meds or other treatments that help your child focus and learn - I know it can take several tries before the right solution is found.

Good luck!

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ADHD is definitely not retarded, but perhaps they were using the word in a different context as in "His learning is retarded (ie. slow)". My nephew is ADHD and is on Ritlin and the difference it makes for him is incredible. He is able to concentrate and pay attention in class and even does well in school now.
It's good that you've had your son tested, and explain to the school what the results of the tests are. Sadly not all teachers have exposure to ADHD and they certainly don't have the medical training to diagnose it - all they can do is point out that they're seeing a problem which you're lucky they DID! Some teachers don't even bother!
ADHD can be controlled by diet if you're totally against drugs, but its not easy. Good luck!

Hope - posted on 05/13/2009

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First of all I will say I HATE...Detest the word Retarded, coming from someone who is mildly slow at learning I always hated school cause other people or kids not understanding me and I do as well have a slight short attention span. But I can't stand it when people make judgements with any type of disability they may have be labeled retarded, there is better words to use research them. These kids with problems have feelings and maybe they don't like being labeled retarded. Grrr I wish people would have some more understanding and get to know that this kid is exceptional and smart in his own abilities..ok I hope I am making sense as I am just typing away here.

Hannah - posted on 05/13/2009

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Adhd is a behavior prolem some our worse than others however all schools shouldnt have a problem takein kids with adhd on as they are no different than other kids ecept they get board more easy and tend to misbehave a little bit more. My brother has been tested so many times as he can sometimes be quite misbehaved generally when he is board. Schools have complain of his behavior here and there but have never called him mentaly retarded. I think that is completely out of order and you should complain.

Jodie - posted on 05/13/2009

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ADHD is far from a mental retardation my Fiance has it and is one of the brightest people i know people just cant deal with the constant moving and not paying attention some people just cant deal with a crazy kid lol tell those people at that school to do thier homework and read about adhd instead of calling names

Amy - posted on 05/13/2009

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I do not have much insight on this matter, but I have the same problem. The school has not actually called him retarded, but other kids do. Well, he is now 13 and has had a rough life. So, keep me in mind please, if you find out anything. Now that he is older, and bigger, he is getting worse, he cannot take any meds. so we are fighting this naturally. It is a crazy world!!!

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