Your Child is More Than a Label

I coached a parent who expressed that some people view her child by the labels / diagnoses her child has rather than the the specific behaviors he displays.  I agreed that some people hear a label and don’t always understand your child’s uniqueness. Your child is more than a label of ADHD, learning disability, dyslexia, dysgraphia, autism, Asperger’s, speech delayed, ADD, or any other label given. When your child gets a diagnosis it results in a label that is used to qualify your child for accommodations or special services.  It helps provide a starting point for you to understand and learn more. That’s it.

Take the term learning disability. It’s broad. The label learning disability does not specifically indicate what challenges your child. If your child has a learning disability you address your child’s areas of weakness such as sounding out words, improving reading comprehension, getting thoughts into writing, or solving math problems.  A teacher who has a child with a learning disability in her class must know what the areas are that need worked on.  Often it’s helpful if you, the parent, provides information about your child’s specific weaknesses.  Then these areas can be emphasized.  Remember that while working on a child’s weaknesses is important, you don’t want to overlook your child’s natural interests and affinities. Those natural talents and gifts must be built upon as well.

How can you help others realize your child is more than a label? Advocate for your child.  If your child has autism explain to the teacher, therapists, and babysitter how autism manifests in your child.  Explain the behaviors your child displays.  Explain any communication difficulties.  Personalize your child so others don’t hear the label autism and rush to draw conclusions.  If your child with autism has an affinity for technology, explain that too.  Let the sitter know which apps he enjoys best. Tell the soccer coach what thighs of things may set your child off during practice and how to respond if your child starts to pace while hitting his head.

How You Can Help.

You can help others view your child as more than a label by complimenting your child in front of that person. If you walk your child with ADHD into school in the morning, say nice an loud, “You were such a good helper by putting your back pack on the back of your chair. That helps mommy and your teacher. You are so sweet.”  Children with labels often don’t receive enough public affirmation.  When you affirm your child in front of others, it plants seeds in the person’s mindset.  They start to see your child the way you do, as a loving and wonderful person and not as a label.

If your child has a label make sure you work with a tutor, therapist, coach, or professional who sees past your child’s label and can help with skills. For example, not all children with ADHD have huge meltdowns, suffer from low self esteem, or have friendship problems.  So if you work with a professional who insists on addressing these areas, it wastes valuable time.  You want to work on the specific challenges for your child while also nurturing strengths.

The mom I worked with needed help in getting her elementary age child with a learning disability started on tasks such as homework, picking up, getting reading in the morning, etc.  We specifically worked on how to get her child how to get going on his own.  We discussed things she had already done such as use a timer and yell. We decided the new approach she would take would be a positive approach to earn extra time on his favorite task, Minecraft.  When he was ready on time or started without more than one reminder he earned an extra 5 minutes of Minecraft time.  If he battled or did not comply he lost Minecraft time.

If you need help with your child contact us because we see beyond any label and recognize your child for the unique person he or she was created to be. (561) 625 4125