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To help adults and children understand psychology.



I Was Normal and Intelligent and Handicapped, What Next

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 1:40 PM


Well, I took the Personality test, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, the best psychological test ever designed. My results were so normal the tester said I was boring. So my Mental Health was ok. I told the tester that I had struggled all my life, that I was challenged to keep up with others. Something had to be wrong. I could not have had so many problems to be ok.


So he decided to test me further. He gave me an IQ test, the best there is. I came out in the upper 90 percent plus in the nation. But there were discrepancies, my verbal was one standard deviation lower then my performance and that made me legally disabled, but how? I asked about the memory and he said I did better on the memory part then anyone who had taken the test for him. I insisted he test me further. He must have done thousands of dollars of testing. Then one test I failed miserably. He had read me a short story and I was to recall the details. I couldn't.


He sent me to the speech department. They tested my hearing, it was fantastic as usual, except if there was any noise in the room, then it was only half as good. But that was not good enough to explain my dilemma. Then one day they gave me a new test and I failed miserably. They were amazed and asked again if I was indeed a graduate student. I said yes. They brought in various students and others who were behind a window to observe as they gave me the test again and yet again. Was I to be assured or scared? Was I a circus clown or a marvel? But they had found the dastardly little glitch that had put me into tails spins, that would continually put me in tail spins, that there was no cure for to this day but perhaps in the future. The fevers had burned out my recall memory, I had absolutely no short term memory. That made me not only half deaf, half blind, but an amnesic patient. They marveled that I had made it this far.


I asked how I had done so well on the IQ memory test. They said I had developed methods to compensate on that type of test. The test had assigned numbers to letters and I had to translate letters back to numbers. I had seen each letter as a disfigured number it was, something people do not always do. A simple trick I had developed out of necessity, I had often drawn ideas in class into pictures as a youngster. But what about all the things I had failed at and continued to fail at. They said they would work with me to try and overcome some of them. There were tricks of the trade and they would be helpful, but only bandaids. I could pass tests as the department used multiply choice questions, they are the most reliable and valid. I could recognize the answer, or if math work it out, but if I was given a question to answer with no cues to recognize, I was totally in the dark. I had done so poorly in public school because of the way they tested. I could not read then because I went to slow and would forget the word or sentence before it had meaning to remember at a higher level. I would forget speech if I could not take notes to keep reminding myself what they were talking about, and that made me half deaf, or more. Sometime listening to someone talk sounded like a foreign language, especially on the radio where there were not enough visual cues to follow. Cut your sight and hearing in half or more and the world is a different place, keep cutting it until one lives in the world of Hellen Keller. At times I did. My mistakes, such as forgetting what the statistic teacher said about turning in homework, were not from a bad attitude but a result of a handicap.


But all is fine in a world held together with meaning and familiarity. It is true with all of us. Drop us in the dark in a foreign country without resources or a map and it gets harder. I had to go back to my department, it was like a foreign country that had played a trick on me and I had to learn the language and investigate. At least now I had testing behind me to show I was a normal person with intelligence, I only had a handicap. And they legally were not allowed to discriminate. I wondered what the testing results would do to loosen up the investigation and allow more answers to my questions. What would give?

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