“I know my son is on the spectrum, but it doesn’t matter. We don’t need “the label” or anything.”
My friend and I stood side by side, watching a little league game take place in front of us. I mentally shrugged and physically nodded when he made the above statement.
“Okay,” I returned.
Truth be told, I also feel that my friend’s son is on the spectrum. I have witnessed his son have numerous problems in social situations. I have seen him become fixated on different sensory issues. He has an extremely large vocabulary and is known to be the best reader in his class. His social bluntness is deemed cute and he is loved by all.
Even me. He really is a sweetheart.
But the statement got to me. Here’s why.
I’ve said it before – “The Label” gets on my nerves.
My kids do not have tags hanging from them that have an “Autism” written on them.
Autism is not something that defines their beings.
I don’t introduce my kids by saying:
“This is autism two and here’s autism one.
They love to play in the bright, sunny sun”
And I don’t use “the label” to excuse behavior.
Referencing “The label” is a new minimizing statement. And it really gets to me.
When Declan was 2 years old I took him to the Pediatrician for his well visit. It was at that visit the Pediatrician felt “something’s wrong.”
That’s not something I wanted to hear.
When Catelyn’s problems became so overwhelming for her that she became depressed, I took her for help. I was surprised she was going to be treated for autism.
My kids were diagnosed by professionals. Not labeled.
My kids were diagnosed because they needed help. They were not succeeding in their development. And so I reached out to help them.
I shudder to think if I had not reached out. How stressed and sad the kids and entire family would be today. How they would have continued to try to reach out and make friends and succeed in all relationships, social, educational and professional, as they aged, until they possibly, finally gave up.
Or were LABELED “the bad kids.”
Instead the kids were diagnosed and proper therapies and strategies, support and understanding were provided to them. They were directed to professionals that understood what they were going through and knew how to help. They are now on the path to success!
From a clinical perspective, a person is diagnosed with something when their symptoms:
“cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”
For my kids, this was the case.
Maybe some people don’t feel they need “the label.”
My kids didn’t need “the label” either.
But they did need the diagnosis. To get the treatment and to help them on to the path of feeling good.