Friday, June 10, 2011

Labels aren't always a bad thing

"You don't want to label your child, it will follow them through their life."  This was said to me in regards to Garrett having Autism.  I've been thinking about it for a while wondering why the statement really irritated me and I've finally figured it out.

I just don't see what's wrong with "labeling" him with Asperger's.  Having the delays he does has helped us get him in to some great programs. All the parents in Early Intervention are more than happy to tell you what label their child has been given because they know that once they get that label they get help.  I'm labeled as having asthma and anxiety, but it also means I can get treatment for both those conditions. 

My labels don't define me, they help explain me a bit and have even helped other people identify with me.  A friend of mine said "these same parents would be more than happy to label their child as gifted".  It's true that people only want the "positive" labels and not the ones they see as negative. But that Autism label gets Garrett help so I can't see it as a negative. 

I look at this this way: having this label now will help him later in life.  To the point where people may never even know or at least where it will help him function better within society.

Maybe people need to stop with not wanting to label their children (no disabilities or special needs and even no gender) and just let things happen naturally.


Anthony from CharismaticKid said...

I think labeling is only good when its a positive thing to you. I am crazy and eccentric... I am weird and goofy... and I like all those things about me!

But when people try to ignore the things they are... and act as if they are not there... that is covering up what makes you special.


teawithfrodo said...

I've learned that labels are only as negative as we make them. 

Banana said...

Great post!  You can take some comfort in the fact that your baby's label is not actually a label, it is a diagnosis.   There is a world of difference between being "labeled" as gifted or slow and being diagnosed with depression or autism.  The label of slow would never get anyone help.  I like to think that I am slow most days of the week.  Calling myself slow wouldn't get me any more than a head shakes worth of attention.  Now, let me get diagnosed as depressed, I could then get therapy and medications.


teawithfrodo said...

Garrett was labeled as developmentally delayed and it has helped him.  Hell, even people who are really labeled as slow (or mentally retarded) get the help they need. 
It doesn't bother me or my husband (who is autistic himself) that Garrett is "labeled"

L said...

Well said; I very much agree. I was reading some article online about WHO (I believe) stating that one in four people has a "disability" of some sort, which has increased from one in seven about thirty or so years ago. That just seems nuts. And while I'm someone who has a few labels, this has never really affected me, but I know it affects a lot of other people with labels the same or labels entirely different. This one in four statistic really seems to be bringing the reality that "normal" is becoming "abnormal" and "abnormal" is really not that far from "normal". I am not sure this is coming out quite the way I want... This is not to downplay any diagnoses or labels anyone has, but I do think there is a direct correlation between how one reacts to labels/the word "abnormal" and how that person feels about him/herself. I'm pretty happy in my skin, I know I'm not "normal", I'm okay with the diagnoses or labels I do have because I know I wouldn't be the same ME without those labels. 

I also think it's great when parents actually DO go get their kids checked out early when they suspect something isn't quite right. You've made life easier for your son by not only getting the label you may or may not have suspected, but by pursuing any intervention you can.