26 February 2018

Why Would You Want To Label Your Child?

I don’t actually, and ill tell you why - I don’t like the term ‘label’ and how it is defined by the people who choose to ask this question.  Its like a dig, an insult, its like they’re implying I want these ‘labels’ for selfish or unorthodox reasons.

Autism is not a ‘label’ - My daughter didn’t get a diagnosis so I could make her wear a signboard of her difficulties.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not a ‘label’ - my daughter didn’t get a diagnosis so that I could excuse her behaviors.

Anxiety is not a ‘label’ - My daughter didn’t get a diagnosis to encourage people to be soft.

I could go on forever right? Please insert any diagnosis and any theory you may have and then listen carefully. These disorders, disabilities, special needs, extra needs, or whichever other definition you wish to use aren’t labels, they aren’t excuses, and parents like me whose children have these diagnoses are sick of hearing people call them labels. Professionals do it, friends do it, acquaintances do it without any thought or feeling for how this statement comes across to the people it is aimed at.

It is hurtful, it is judgmental, and it is completely unjustified.

People may say, ‘why bother having her labeled when you are doing everything for her anyway’ or “why do you have to label her when the school are giving the extra support’ and ‘what’s the point in a label all it will do is hinder her in the future with prospective jobs or relationships’ It will NOT hinder job prospects, and it will not hinder future relations, My child is who she is and I am proud of that, she will be proud of who she is too, because i will make sure of it.

Having my child diagnosed (which I sought out and fought for might I add) wasn’t for the benefit of myself; it was for the benefit of my daughter and the future she rightly deserves.  Having a diagnosis enabled her to have access to other services she would not have received otherwise. Having a diagnosis enabled me to help others understand her appropriately and begin to use the correct strategies for her conditions. Having a diagnosis has enabled me to be signposted to the correct support groups, and training courses that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to access. These ‘labels’ do not hinder my child’s future they benefit it. These ‘labels’ are needed for support and understanding. Not having a label will be used against you for obtaining further assessments and referrals. Even though a diagnosis is not legally needed for obtaining support and assessments, you WILL be told this because funding is critically low, and as a diagnosis is proving more and more difficult to obtain therein lies the problem of the merry-go-round service.

Ever heard a teacher say:

“Im sorry, your child is not diagnosed so we cant refer her for this assessment”

Or the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator say:

“im sorry to be able to have an educational psychologist assess your child they need to have a diagnosis of X, Y, Z first”

Or a Headteacher say:

“I’m sorry we cannot make an application for your child for an Education, Health and Care Plan, because she doesn’t have a diagnosis”

This is NOT true!!!!!

But you see, who are we to question these professionals’ rules? On the start of my journey I was told all of these. All of them are NOT true. Nothing is based on a child’s diagnosis, but to access the support and assessments it seems we need them. Even though this isn’t what it states in the SEN code of practice, it seems that that ‘Label’ is actually necessary.

Please don’t assume that I am labeling my child for other reasons other than to benefit her future, Please don’t think that these diagnoses are pointless, they are crucial for being able to access the correct support, and referrals and other assessments needed to be able to better our current situation and lifetime opportunities.

Do you feel like this? Have you been in a similar position? Please share your experiences in the comments.

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