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Friday, July 23, 2010

Labels

I'm just wondering.... do we rely on labels too much? I'm not talking about clothing labels, but labelling our children.

In schools, whenever there's a student that is not average, either above or below, we label them as gifted, or has a learning difficulty. I sometimes feel kids are too often labelled with ADD or ADHD. Ethan didn't start walking till he was almost 16 months, and many people suggested he was developmentally delayed. He was a late walker, not a delayed walker, but there seemed to be a focus on the word delayed. One of my mates has a child who is on the quiet side. She's concerned her child may have a speech problem. Are we looking for problems? Do we want all children to be the same? Why do we seem concerned when they are not the same? Why do we look for a label?

Ok, so maybe it is just me.

Scott and I knew Ethan had motor issues when he was just a few months old. When he was a year, we discovered he had hyper mobility. Granted, we just said he was double jointed, apparently there's an official name, a label. As he got older, we were a little concerned, but not seriously as he was developing appropriately. But then a few months ago, people started to share their concerns about Ethan's motor skills. They were sure he had a problem, and if he didn't, he would develop one.

I fought it.

I'm not sure if I fought the idea that there was something wrong with Ethan or fought that he wasn't normal. They may sound the same, but they are not. Ethan's cognitive skills are high, so just because his motor skills were not at the same level as his classmates didn't mean there was something wrong. But others thought so.

Finally I gave in and took Ethan for PT. This is where I learnt that double jointed has a name; hyper mobility. After a few sessions, I learnt about Sensory Processing Disorder. Ethan fit in there, so I thought maybe that was his problem. I spoke with his PT about this and we discussed it. She had another checklist and we worked on it. I was later told Ethan has Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).

Now get this; after not believing there was anything "wrong" with Ethan, I feel better knowing what's wrong with him. I feel better now that there's a label. So am I guilty of labelling my child? Why do I feel better now that he has something?

10 comments:

Sarah said...

I do think that society places alot of importance on a label. It's so hard when you notice your kid is behind/different from another kid and other parents are quick to point out the issue. I'm glad you feel better about things now. And you are a great momma for getting him evaluated and dealing with the diagnosis.

Samantha said...

I don't think you are wrong in feeling better knowing there is an issue at hand. That way it gives you the opportunity to help Ethan better than you would have been able to before you knew there was an issue.

For what it's worth, I think Ethan is perfect!!

tolleyrose said...

I never knew being double jointed came with an official label. I'm double jointed. Ethan IS perfect. I think the relief of having that label comes with knowing you can do things to help him. Hugs and love!!

LADYHIGHTOWER said...

I learned something new today. thank you! And for the record it's ok to feel relieved. It's the NOT-knowing that can drive you mad! Blessings to all! LADYHIGHTOWER (swap-bot)

science-at-home.org said...

It's interesting, as a teacher I've had a love/hate relationship with labels. Sometimes it's so nice to know what to expect before a new kid rocks into your room, but how much does that then influence what you see? I generally come down that it's better to have a diagnosis or label, because then it's easier to find strategies rather than starting from scratch. And of course funding depends on labels.

With my own kids I know exactly what you mean. My eldest daughter had a speech delay due to a speech production disorder - there was definitely something wrong and we knew there was. My little one was just a late talker. Even though they probably started talking at around the same age we could really tell the difference and weren't worried about the little one, in spite of the fact that she wasn't talking. I think you're very sensible to be relieved now - you aren't reacting to a label, you are reacting to the fact that you have strategies to help him.

BTW, I'm from the Lady Bloggers Tea Party.

Classic NYer said...

My brother was diagnosed with aspergers when he was already an adult. He actually felt relieved that what was "wrong" with him had a name. I just felt like some doctors were taking my brother's personality away and blaming it on a disease. But then, I'm not the one who has it so maybe I'm not one to speak. He likes the label, so... label on.

If it makes you feel better, roll with it.

Showing some love from LBS!
http://www.classicnycstory.com

Nicole said...

Hello! I am visiting from LBS Tea Party. Excellent post- and you pose a very interesting question.
You definitely have a new follower. Dar? Fascinating.

When you find the time, stop by and visit me - http://nicoleabdou-destinationunknown.blogspot.com

theboredmommy said...

Thanks for visiting me, glad you liked my earfuls! I hope Melissa will too one day :). Very interesting post, but I don't think you being relieved to know what's going on with your child means you're labeling him. I believe labeling means only seeing one aspect of a person (if that label is even true), and not seeing beyond that, as if they couldn't do/be anything else. And you definitely don't sound like you do that with your child! :) He's very lucky to have you as mom!

Rochelle said...

Knowledge is power. What you do with the information and label is what matters.

swapbot-stampkrl

NikonGoddess said...

Hi Tima,

I am enjoying your blog! I agree that I also fought "labeling" my daughter when she was young. She was also a late talker. Now - can't keep her quiet when we're together - and I STILL love it!

I didn't know that being double jointed had a label. Thank you for educating me. After all, you are a teacher. ;)

I'm here through the Swap-bot swap "I'm a blogger - follow me."

I look forward to coming back and reading more over time.
Take care ~ NikonGoddess or Dee :)