I am a labeler. I love a label. I like all kind of labels (colored labels, hello my name is label, large labels, labels like Flo’s tricked out label). I own 3 label machines. 3!  Many people however hate labels. They worry about them, they worry about what other people will think if their children are labeled. They worry about how their children will be perceived. Well, you don’t have to; you just need to change your paradigm. You see many people see labels as a negative. Well, I don’t. To me it’s not a label, it’s a diagnosis, and a diagnosis simply helps you to understand yourself, and it helps others understand you too. Let’s take a child who has dyslexia. That child struggles with reading because his mind does not work the same way as ours. So for a child who is struggling with reading, he will constantly be comparing himself to his peers and wondering why he cannot perform the same task at the same rate. And do you know what that could lead to? Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and low self-confidence. Same for a child who has ADHD. As a mother of a child with ADHD I remember constantly telling my daughter, “Stop bouncing, sit down, focus, focus, focus.” At first, I admit I thought she was being stubborn or defiant. After her diagnosis, I was able to understand it wasn’t her being defiant that made her bounce around the room like crazy, it was her little brain. Those neurotransmitters are bouncing from one neuron to another at a rate that even she couldn’t keep up with it, and sometimes they wouldn’t even make it to their destination. So she would start something and get distracted and then she was off doing something else; that is/was those neurotransmitters not making that connection, not making it to their final destination, and her not completing her task.  After the initial diagnosis, I sat her down and explained it all to her, do you know what her response was to me? “Oh, so that’s why I have the party going on in my head.” I thought that was a brilliant way to explain it for a child with ADHD; it is like being at a New Year’s Eve Party. There is music and groups of people talking, and laughing, and noise makers, and a band. You have people serving food, and people dancing, and everything is loud; and you can’t keep your eyes from jumping from group to group to group and be distracted by everything going on, and wanting to move from group to group to group and talk and dance, and look at the decorations, etc. It’s a lot for a little one to take in. So a label  diagnosis helps your child understand why their brain/body does what it does. The other thing it does is help others understand why they do the things they do.

Still worried about people putting a label on your child and how your child will be perceived? I get it, I’ve been there. I use to own a school for children with learning difference, everyone who knows me, knows my children and their diagnoses, so I remember being worried about the same thing. I remember having this exact conversation with my children’s godmother and her response to me was “Lei-Lei (that’s my family name, don’t laugh) if someone is not wanting to include you or your children based on their diagnoses and what they have gone through, then those are not the type of people you want to hang out with.” Truer words have never spoken. So educate those people, explain the difference between a “label” and a diagnosis, explain how it is to help your child understand themselves, and to help others understand them as well, and don’t let the word “label” stop you.


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