Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Lifeguard

I studied psychopathology in graduate school. Now I teach the course and regularly look to my DSM-IV-TR as I complete psychological evaluations for my private practice. I will be completely honest with myself and say that one diagnosis that I never really thought much about pre-Quinn's own diagnosis with it was 307.3 Stereotypic Movement Disorder. Now I just can't look at certain things the same way. Every time I page through my DSM I stop for a moment and look at that page. That never happened before. And then there was yesterday when I saw a lifeguard at an indoor water park that we were staying at. I know that this lifeguard in all likelihood does not have a diagnosis of Stereotypic Movement Disorder, but I couldn't help but to think of this disorder as I watched her stretch her neck back and forth in the same way that Quinn does when she is doing these movements. No other lifeguard did it quite the way she did it and it looked just like Quinn stuck in her movements. Back and forth. Stretching the neck from side to side. Over and over again. Now the lifeguard was trying to look by the side of the pool and make sure no one was needing assistance, but my daughter does these things not for a job, not for any purpose really except to perhaps stimulate herself. Some days she does this a lot, other days not so much. But I will never look at certain things the same way. I now notice things that other people do not. I think Neal and I were the only two people in that huge waterpark that looked at that lifeguard that way, thinking of our daughter. Stereotypic Movement Disorder is just one thing that has changed my life.


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