Tuesday, April 3, 2012

AUTISM Why I Need to Label My Child

Many times on our road to diagnosis I was asked,

"Why do you want to label your child?"

First let me rephrase your rude, insensitive and out of line question.

I don't WANT to label him. I want this whole bloody mess to be not happening. I want some normal. I want sleep. I want help.
No mother WANTS to spend hours in Doctors rooms trying to convince her already over-stressed, over-stimulated and over-analysed kid to 'just do his best'.
No mother WANTS to have her stomach hit the floor every time the school rings to report on her kid's latest social blunder.
No mother WANTS to dry the tears when her kid is the only one not invited to a party,or when the school suggests he not go on the end of year excursion.
No mother WANTS to rock him as he cries himself to sleep again, with her heart breaking and another day of the same crap coming up tomorrow.

Let me tell you why I NEED to label my child.

Without a label he is just naughty.
Without a label he is just disruptive.
Without a label he is just anti-social.
Without a label he is just disorganised and lazy.

Without a label he is without support or understanding in the classroom and playground.
Without a label there is no FUNDING and

Without a label the teachers have no guidelines, no strategies and no patience.
Without a label the principal won't speak to this mother.

If he does not have a label then he is just a little boy who sits in detention every day for not focusing, for not completing work, for lashing out at cruel kids, for refusing to look the teacher in the eye.

Yes, I need a label for my child.
Then maybe, the world will stop punishing him.
Maybe then he will be allowed to grow and flourish into an awesome young man.

Maybe, then, you will see what I see.

Photo snapped this morning by the gorgeous Madmother, with thanks xxx


  1. My partner and I were speaking about this issue only this morning after I wrote something yesterday about my daughter's question, 'do I have autism?' He's wary of the label and wonders if we have done her a disservice but without it we would have got no funding for ABA, speech therapy and the small amount of assistance needed for our daughter at school. Thank you for your post.


    1. we struggled with this at first too, but a child with Down's Syndrome, with cerebral palsy, with vision deficits or with speech impedements are allowed to have labels without judgment. The child doesn't own the label.The label just adds to the explanation and the tools and strategies available to help the child grow.
      Best of luck with your daughter, and remember the label does not define the child, only she gets to do that!

  2. I think it's silly to NOT want that label. To not want to check and make sure that YOU at least know what you're up against. Why they just can't do this or that.

    1. I would have thought so too, but the some in the medical community are still very wary of making a definitive diagnosis in this area. I don't think a label is going to define who Jack is or who he becomes, but it sure as hell would have given some boundaries and guidelines to those who were so harsh in his early schooling.
      Life as a Mumma wasn't meant to be easy xx

  3. I will never understand why wanting a 'diagnosis' of autism is a bad thing. Why it is worse than wanting a diagnosis of asthma or diabetes. Why wouldn't you want the 'label' so you can move on with purpose and direction, with support and assistance. Duh!

    1. thanks Tam, so true. Call it a label, a diagnosis, a learning style or a character trait, call it anything, just call it something.. so we can move forward!!!
      I don't understand the thinking of his Doctors, except perhaps they did not want to be the one to sign on the dotted line. Who knows?

  4. And it depends what you do with that label too. For us it is a part of his identity and nobody can affect his rock-solid confidence in who he is nowadays.

    For you to have to fight so damn long for this gorgeous boy is just so WRONG. And every bit of his awesomeness comes back to his family, cause it sure as sh*t had nothing to do with the early school years!

    1. Thankyou!!! (and thanks for my pic!) In some ways, all the struggle in the beginning was a blessing as it forced us to team together and fight hard. It forced us to see the positives and work purposely towards building his self esteem and teaching him resilience and self belief. I know we are blessed to have him.

  5. Hi Lisa we have a down syndrome nephew who has to go to the doctor every now and then to get a form filled out that he is still a downs. Don't think he is going to change now, I think the government likes paperwork. We also have an autistic niece and nephew. They both have opposite types of autism, niece having the one where very slow with learning and nephew who is super clever. Both are lovely young adults. Their mum and step dad have had been great in helping them as they have grown up.


Your comments are welcome, please be kind and respectful. We all have different views of the world, sharing your view with gentle words is appreciated.xxx Lisa