Continuing my brief series on the Nova Scotia man declared legally incompetent by his parents, I found a heartbreaking CBC radio interview with his mother.
The mother claims her son’s functional skills are at the level of a 10 or 12 year-old, which is consistent with his self-reported IQ score (on The Fifth Estate) of 69. Adult mental age is 16+ so an adult with the mind of an 11-year-old would be developing at 69% (11/16) of the normal rate (the age ratio method works well from IQ 70 to 130, but begins giving absurd results beyond those limits).
The interviewer plays the audio of the son making his case, and many people across the province are rallying behind the son, and feel, based on listening to his interviews, that he is competent enough to live independently.
The mother explains that his disabilities are very complex, and people shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that he’s fine, just because he seems fine. This shows that a complex involved in-depth IQ test like the Wechsler (assuming the son took that) can detect disabilities that can not be observed from subjective impressions.
The interviewer argues that he held down jobs, has a girlfriend, and even has kids, but the mother counters that only one of his kids (with more than one female) has been confirmed to be his. The others are question marks. Further, when he worked, the mother claims the money was not even going to him, but to a Third Party.
The mother explains that it’s no longer the 1970s, when it was safe for someone like her son to be integrated into the community. Today there are too many people who will exploit someone like him.
The son’s lawyer also gave an interview with CBC Radio that I listened to.
Meanwhile I found another CBC interview with the son himself, who is heartened by all the support he’s been getting from the public. He seems to show a large vocabulary when it comes to words related to his specific case, making reference to “cognitive assessment” and “archaic law”. The only signs of disability is that he speaks a bit slowly and differently and struggles twice to pronounce the word “aspect”.
It’s a tricky situation because I think his parents are very good people who mean well, but at the same time, when they assume all his “friends” are just exploiting him, it can be quite condescending.
I’m reminded of when I was in the 10th grade, a popular classmate and I went to a “bush bash” on Friday night, and I kindly offered to bring a bottle of vodka that I had surreptitiously obtained. The following Monday, another popular classmate took me aside and said “don’t let people use you like that.” Although this student meant well, I was offended that he assumed I was just being used for my bottle of vodka and couldn’t possibly have been invited to the elite bush bash on my merits.
Sometimes it can be hard to help someone without subtly insulting them in the process, making it hard for the help to be accepted. I think that’s part of the dynamic here.