In my years of working with kids with special needs, I’ve worked with children with all sorts of diagnoses and labels. Some kids just have one, others have many more! Often, parents are left with little hope from medical professionals. They are even more confused about what their child’s issues are. Here’s why labels and diagnoses stink:
Let me explain this one. A common scenario for many families is that as soon as their child has been diagnosed — Trisomy 21, ASD, cerebral palsy, chromosomal deletion q16.4304, Praeder-Willi, PDD-NOS, the list goes on — their child is immediately put in a box. They are grouped with all the other kids with that same exact label. The problem with that? People have a hard time looking past that! Your child instantly becomes just another 1 in 20,000, 1 in 85, and is no longer just 1 in the eyes of doctors, specialists, etc.
Labels and diagnoses mask the true issue
I know dozens and dozens of children that have been given 10+ diagnoses from therapists, doctors, etc. I’ve also met kids who don’t “fit the mold” when it comes to their diagnosis. Some kids with Trisomy 21, have epilepsy, and kids who can run and are labeled “cerebral palsy”. Sounds confusing right?
Labels and diagnoses take the focus off the true issue: the brain is not functioning as well as it should. Whether your child has had a traumatic injury, birth injury, or a genetic anomaly, the one area that has been affected is the brain. If command center is disorganized or not working the way it should, you’re going to see symptoms of that dysfunction — poor vision, lack of speech or mobility, muscle tightness or looseness, sensory processing issues, and more! It is often why conventional therapies are not successful — they treat the symptoms, and not the brain itself. I find that sticking a label on a child takes the focus off the brain, to everyone’s detriment.
Trapped in a box
Along with the first point, as soon as your child is given a label/diagnosis certain assumptions are going to be made about your child’s abilities. In most cases, assumptions will be made about what your child can’t or will never do. Parents will be told this so that they “manage their expectations” about their child with special needs. To hear that constantly is not good for any mom, dad, or child.
Labels create space
Labels create distance
Your child is not DEFINED by the label/diagnosis.
Your child is your child, and is unique. They have all the potential in the world to be an incredible individual — they probably are already! If you needed this reminder today, I hope that this article helped you.