Follow Me on Pinterest



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Label Me(NOT)!!

Lately I have noticed on a variety of message boards and egroups that people have personalized signature lines. Because most of the groups I frequent are homeschool related, most of these custom signatures include a list of the members children, ages, and usually something extra about each child. It seems in the past, it use to be the curriculum each child used or school method or something educationally related.

Lately though, I've noticed something different that seems to just kind of rub me the wrong way. Perhaps it's just me, but the new trend seems to list the child's name, age, and now instead of curriculum used, a label diagnosing the child's "disorder." This could be anything from Apspergers and Autism to Bipolar disorder or ADD.

I know(trust me I know) that there are an increasingly growing number of children with these "disorders." What I don't understand is why so many are so quick to use one of those labels to identify their child to the world.

Labels can be helpful, to give you a label to identify my son might help you understand better why he cringes away when you reach out to touch him, or why he seems to be lacking in communication skills. It can help a health care provider to understand why he is difficult to treat, but here's what that label doesn't tell you, it doesn't tell you;

that his favorite colors are pink, red and orange and in that order. It doesn't tell you that he loves animals with a passion and they seem to naturally flock to him as well. It doesn't tell you that he loves to give "high five's" and has an unusual interest in the weather and weather conditions. It doesn't tell you how much at four years old he loves and appreciates a good sunset. It doesn't tell you how much he LOVES to dance and express himself through movement. There are just so many things that label can't tell you about my son, so I hesitate to and rarely use that label. I feel that label defines and limits him, and he is so, so much more than a one word label.

In the past many of our great inventors and artists were labeled as such, just great inventors and artists. Today, we even want to go back in time and label these great contributors to our world. Sure, I am sure today they would have been labeled with some sort of "disorder" but what defines them? The label or their genius contributions?

So, while there is nothing wrong with using a label to shed some understanding or explain your child's unique "quirks" don't let that be what defines them to others or themselves.

Here's my new siggy line for my special child:

Tara, mom to Austin: Sunset lover, weather watcher extraordinaire, Video game master, possible future veterinarian or professional dancer and expert high fiver!

No comments: