Our son started primary school and the problems started again. We continued to feel that it was not fair that he was still struggling. To be honest in those early years, I had many walks of shame across the playground, meeting the teacher at the end of the day, only to be told what ‘bad’ behaviour had taken place that day. I am sure many parents can identify with that walk! In the end, at six years old, the school called us to say ‘yes, we believe you and we think he needs to be assessed’.
The power of a diagnosis
The trap of being judgemental
I am confident that you would seek answers from someone, maybe a doctor or health professional. You would find out what was ‘wrong’ with your child. Maybe it transpires that your child has a lifelong condition such as diabetes, asthma or eye sight complications. If this was the case, your child would have to see a specialist to help them with this condition.
School would be involved and you would need to find out about the implications of the diagnosis. Doing your research would help you understand why your child is feeling the way they are, and surely, it would be a relief for you to finally be able to ease your child’s suffering. Bottom line, now your child has been given a diagnosis albeit it is a medical label.
Why is a special needs label any different?
People often ask my opinion about their child, as they know I will understand, and often they are starting on the special needs ladder which means they may be scared of getting a ‘label’. My advice is that a special needs label is not a bad thing or a stigma any more than a child being labelled with a medical condition or illness. For any parent, it’s simply a way to get the help you and your child need by clarifying the details of the presenting condition. How you react to the label is entirely up to you.
We have always taught our son to be proud of who he is. We tell him to rise above people’s ignorance and take the time to educate them. Our son is now 14 and we give him the freedom to use his ‘label’ or diagnosis how he chooses. If he wants people to know about his diagnosis he will tell them, if he doesn’t, he keeps quiet. However, he knows now that telling the right people, those who need to know, is nothing to be afraid of. He understands that it helps people around him to be educated as it allows them the opportunity to be open minded, and not judgemental, of someone with special needs. Understanding is a big step toward helping people with special needs. My last advice, please do not let others persuade you to change your mind about your own child. A ‘special needs label’ is just a diagnosis just like any other diagnosis.