Labeling children

Posted: March 24, 2013 in books

Why do schools and health professionals feel the need to slap a label on children? When my eldest son was in primary school they felt he was extremely hyperactive and had trouble behaving and focusing. The teacher pulled me aside and suggested I take him to visit a doctor and get him on medication. I looked at her in disbelief, seriously there is absolutely nothing wrong with my son. He is behaving like any normal boisterous boy. He wasn’t damaging school property or being abusive, he was simply misbehaving and never displayed this behavior at home so I completely disregarded her suggestion.

A few years later I felt my other son wasn’t behaving normally for his age and after much perseverance he was later diagnosed with borderline autism. This later gave fuel for the school regarding my two girls that I had after him. Both shy and reluctant to participate in class activities they viewed this as autistic behavior which was totally ridiculous. At home they behaved completely different, very talkative and affectionate always wanting to play with friends and siblings the total opposite of my autistic son.

They went on to refer my girls to health professionals and eventually dismissed the elder of the two as being shy but were convinced my youngest couldn’t talk. I even suggested filming her to prove that not only could she talk but she was also capable of counting and writing none of which she would do when at school. They are finally seeing an improvement by watching her from afar but as soon as they approach her she withdraws into herself but is now beginning to participate in classroom activities as her confidence grows.

I agree some children do have conditions such as autism, ADHD etc and some are in need of medication but I feel these days it is all too easy to slap a label and medicate a perfectly normal child just because they are a little more disruptive or shy than that of the average child.

  1. I agree that schools are fat to quick to label and to want children medicated to make them more tractable, especially with the idea of ADD or ADHD. In my case, however, I had the opposite problem. I KNEW my son had a learning disability. But I had to fight for over three years to have them agree to testing so he could get the help he needed. Why? So he wouldn’t be labelled. Go figure. He eventually did get the help he needed and is not a college graduate and doing very well. But not because of the schools – he needed Mama Bear to fight for him.

    Stick to your guns.

    For your youngest, though, if her shyness is that extreme you might want to check into getting her some help with coping – privately and not through the school system. It can be debilitating and the younger she learns the coping mechanisms to deal with the the earlier she will begin to feel like she belongs in this world. Otherwise she will have a sign on her forehead that will make her a target for bullies.

    • Hi Yvonne, she only behaves that way with adults especially teachers, children don’t bother her and outside of the school environment she is very loud and outspoken she simply doesn’t like school. I don’t really blame her, when she doesn’t participate they used to make her miss her playtime and have to stand against the wall watching the other children playing. The educational psychologist has told them to no longer punish her for selective mutism but I think the damage may have already been done

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