This case upsets me on so many levels, and triggers so many hot spots, it is hard to know where to begin. But I think what upsets me most is the continual portrayal of DJ as being like an 18 month old. This is the same argument used in AshleyX to validate her parent’s desire to stunt her growth as their ‘Pillow Angel.’ You live for 35 years and no matter how deprived of a stimulating environment you have been, you are no longer like an 18 month old. You have life experiences that inform you in ways you may not be able to communicate effectively, but are no less life changing.
When I read that DJ was never taught any method of communication, my stomach revolts. Whether or not you believe that DJ successfully used FC, he did from accounts by many respond to his environment in meaningful ways. He could have learned to blink his eyes or point to respond to simple questions. His mother reports he scoots around on his butt at home. He has no wheelchair and cannot walk unaided. So is this an 18 month old or is this an adult with no effective means to stand up and ambulate or move through space?
This is a very tired notion to quantity people’s intelligence by a chronological age that is dependent upon society’s norm of being able to read and write and speak by a certain age.
I met DJ. I cannot say for sure a lot of things about him, but I can say I met an adult man and not an 18 month old child. I met a man who appeared to me to fit into the rythym of an adult conversation on his own accord with the assistance of FC. When we can see DJ as an adult man, it changes everything. ~Susan