A number of weeks ago, Namine was seen for the second time by a neuropsychologist. We have since seen and read the report, and we are not convinced she’s correct.

The neuropsychologist’s report diagnoses Namine as below-average to average intelligence, with either an attention deficit disorder or a mental handicap of some kind. She states that Namine likely has a processing delay, and suggests that Namine cannot process new information easily and has no concept of spatial reasoning.

But as she’s only spent a grand total of roughly eight hours with her over the course of two visits, you’ll pardon me if I take what she says with a grain of salt.

Let me tell you a bit about Namine’s reasoning.

In therapy, Namine has to walk in her walker for extended amounts of time. Sometimes it’s on the treadmill, sometimes it’s around the room (which is rather large). During one of the sessions in which Namine’s therapist wanted her to walk around, she (the therapist) scattered toys all over the floor. Some were close by, some far away.

Before letting her loose in the room to pick up all the toys, Namine’s therapist asked her in what order she would pick up the toys. She, like the neuropsychologist, believes that Namine suffers from some sort of cognitive delay, if not outright impairment. She was looking for spatial reasoning: to be specific, in what order it would make the most sense to pick up the toys.

Namine did not start with the closest toy; she pointed to the one farthest away. Then she pointed to the closest one. There seemed to be no reason or logic to her order; the path she chose certainly was not optimized for getting done as quickly as possible.

“No, that’s not right,” the therapist said. She explained that she should start with the closest ones, moving along a path to pick them all up in

Jessica asked Namine why she chose to pick up the toys in that order. Namine responded, “So I can walk longer.”

I said before that there seemed to be no reason to Namine’s order of picking up toys, but that’s because her priorities were different than her therapist’s.

To the therapist, this is a job, a task, something for Namine to do, and as quickly as possible. (That’s not to say she doesn’t care about Namine. I’m sure she does, but let’s face it — Namine is still just another patient to her.)

But to Namine, walking is not something she just has to do. To Namine, walking is a duty. It’s something with which she challenges herself, something she uses to improve her strength, her endurance, her will. She actively seeks ways to push herself further, and here is the evidence.

To me, Namine’s choice of order in picking up those toys does not show an inability to think, nor does it show a lack of spatial reasoning. What it does show is that Namine approaches problems uniquely, with her own priorities and expectations.

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