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A Rose by Any Other Name...

Posted Dec 29 2009 12:00am
I'm struggling a lot lately, having to keep explaining the need for labels for my children. Its got to the point where I'm almost starting to believe the people who think I'm looking for things to be wrong, almost "wanting" there to be something there so I can slap a label on my child... It couldn't be further from the truth though. Of course I don't want there to be any reason for my child to be diagnosed with anything else, but in my heart I know that we haven't got to the bottom of my middle child's issues. Therefore, I will don my elephant hide and get her the private help she needs and if that gets her an additional label to wear, so be it.

Trying to explain the need for a label is exhausting. A simple analogy I use is that you have a cupboard full of cans, all with the labels missing. You try to figure out whats in there perhaps by seeing how heavy it is, does it slosh when its shaken, or is it solid. You can really only find out a tiny bit about the contents of that aluminium can without its label... Now stick a label on the can. Whats changed? The can is the same, the contents haven't changed one iota. All that has changed is now we can easily identify what is inside that can without the need to guess or shake it.

So that is the purpose of the label. To identify what is there. Its not a name, or a tattoo that has to be worn on the forehead of your child, but it is essential to get services and the help your child needs and deserves. Don't forget also that labels peel off and can be changed as appropriate if things change.

So where is the real issue that some have with the label? I feel its the stigma of old. Sure don't people label themselves all the time if its something they are proud of? MD, BA, Mrs, Sir, Lord.... So why not come out and say the real reason they don't like certain labels. Yeah, its the stigma, I don't want people knowing there is any mental illness/neurological disorders/disability (delete as appropriate) in our family... Ignoring and shunning the label however, won't change that or make the child neurotypical. It will just deny them services and help.

Munchkin got her label nearly a year and a half ago and in that time has obtained intensive intervention, home tuition and a place in a special needs preschool. Add that to the help she gets from us at home too and you see a totally different child to the one who presented a year ago. As my mum said to me over Christmas, whatever you're doing, keep doing it! She is doing fantastically and I know in my heart, that without the label we wouldn't be doing as well as we are. I just need to sort out my cans in my cupboard and get my middle can relabelled properly so that she too, can move forward....
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