As a parent, you want the best for your child – but figuring out what that means can get confusing.
The idea of “labeling” a child with a specific disability or with special needs sometimes gets a lot of flak, and parents can be directly or indirectly discouraged from doing so for fear that a child will end up stigmatized or their opportunities will be limited due to the focus on their struggles instead of their strengths. However, labeling a child isn’t all that bad. In fact, it’s often necessary if you want to accomplish some or all of the following aims.
Improve your child’s self-awareness and help them self-advocate
As your child grows into adulthood, they will have to try to advocate for themselves in many situations. They can’t do that if they don’t understand their own special deeds. Labeling can also help them find a community of others who share their struggles, and that kind of support can help a child with a disability feel less isolated and alone.
Access better educational approaches and support services
An official diagnosis and the label that comes with it are often the first steps in the process of accessing the specialized support, therapies and educational services your child needs to ultimately thrive. This can include 504 plans, individualized education plans (IEPs) and other interventions. A label serves as a starting point for tailor-made accommodations, and it provides your child with legal protections.
Labeling isn’t something to be feared. Instead, it’s something that you can embrace. Seeking identification of your child’s special needs can lead to earlier, better interventions and support, and that ultimately can lead to better outcomes.