As we begin the tedious and anxious process of bringing Wolf back to Alaska this summer, I am relearning all the disability-Wolf-related terminology and jargon once so familiar to me.
As trite and perhaps crass is it may sound; I've been glad to rid my mind of these terms for a while. As any parent of a disabled child knows, diagnoses with acronyms like AS, FASD, ADHD, and NOS become more familiar than our children's names. Not for our lack of trying to make it otherwise, be assured. But medical people and social workers and teachers find it easier to refer to our kids by these letters, and one we've been hearing a lot lately is "NOS".
Standing for "Not Otherwise Specified", it sounds like a cop-out, a diagnosis-without-a-diagnosis to make sure a child has something listed in the medical box on forms for school, medical assistance, therapy, you name it. Apparently, we've learned over the years, a blank box is B.A.D. Wolf's current diagnoses are many, the latest of which is NOS, because, I suppose, one cannot put in the blank box "Pain In the Ass" as a qualified medical diagnosis.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough has made that perfectly clear, in the most polite way, of course. Wolf's admittance into an accredited residential treatment program was not enough, and I found out a signed, sealed, and delivered diagnosis is required for him to qualify for special education his senior year. We are in a bit of a quandry, too, because Wolf never received an IEP (another acronym standing for Individualized Education Plan/Program) over his school years K-11.
He was never considered to be in enough trouble. Ironically, according to the Anchorage School District, special education department heads wanted to avoid "labeling" my son.