Enough With "I Don't Want Them Labeled."

by Eileen Shaklee
Originally Published: 

If I had a dollar for every time I heard this, I could pay off my house, your house and probably have enough left over for a nice new car. Honey, it’s time we had some real talk.

I keep hearing this. Hell, I’ve even said it myself. But the fact is, this isn’t about YOU. It never was. It hasn’t been about you since the moment the doctor said “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” Sorry sunshine, I am all for a pity party for one from time to time. This resisting a label thing, you’re just keeping your head in the sand. That’s not helping your kid at all. You think that label is going to hurt them? What do you think ignoring what is there is going to do?

Your kid already HAS a label. The weird one. The troublemaker. The quirky one. The “What’s with that kid?” one. Why not get them the correct one? More importantly, get them the correct supports in place for success.

The label is a necessary evil. I know being practical is about as much fun as watching paint dry, but it is what it is. You think you will get an insurance company to pay up for some sort of nondescript help? I can’t even get them to pay for very much speech therapy and my kid has the label of autism! Plus, I get the added fun bonus of having my yearly conversation with them: “Why yes, I will still be taking him to speech therapy and paying out of pocket. He’s still very much autistic! He didn’t magically recover from his severe expressive and receptive communication troubles just because we hit the limit. Go figure!”

And at school, sorry, you are definitely going to need the label there. No one is handing out IEP’s all willy-nilly for kicks. You want that free and appropriate education that the law entitles your child to receiving, you have to get the label. You just do. If you want to get the best possible tailor-made education for your kid, you best accept that label you are so afraid of calling them.

I get it. I really do. I was in denial for years. I didn’t want to see what was right in front of my face. Once I started accepting it, well, I got used to it. It’s not a case of getting better. You just start finding your kid’s own groove. I started following the tour guide that autism sent to me. Yes, there are frequent stops for “window fries,” and I know more about trains than I ever thought possible. I started to get a bit more fluent in his own language while teaching him my own. I saw past the label.

In other words, I got the eff over myself.

Everyone wants what’s best for their kid. Maybe it’s autism. Maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, let’s not add resenting you as a parent to the mix.

Related post: What You Don’t Know About that Wild, Unruly Child

This article was originally published on