Tuesday, May 19, 2015

someone slap a label on that kid!

It's funny how you spend so much effort as a teenager making sure no one labels you (unless if you were in the 'Popular' crowd, then maybe you liked that label) When you head into parenthood, you try to do everything right for your child so that no labels stick on them either. Labels are a bad thing, after all. They often identify you to a group, and most of the time, we want to blend in, and not stand out as being associated in a crowd.

I spent my teens hot headed (shall I say a bit Fiery?) and stubborn; disassociating from certain groups. I wasn't Popular or Athletic, nor was I a Skater. I wore the label Weird with pride, sometimes with indifference. I wasn't loud, but I was confident. I had enthusiasm and hyperactivity, yet was quiet enough to be a compassionate friend and listener. I didn't fit the stereotypical teenager seen in movies or on tv, or in books or on the news. And I was proud of that. Although I sometimes felt the need to fit in somewhere; a desire to be a part of a recognized group.  (As an adult, I now see that my small knit friends was the perfect group all on its own; we didn't fit the typical labels.  I see how there were more of Us in that average-but-awesome group than Them with the groups!)

We always seem to fight labels as if they are a negative thing, but I'm entering into a new territory that makes me question the aversion.  Especially with World Autism Awareness Day last month (April 2) and our own searches for an answer to Rhys' delayment.  Autism is one of the most recognized disorder out there right now and effects 1 in 68 children, according to online searches. (I came across a magazine article written in 2011 that said the stats were 1 in 100 children. Wow. Quite the change in 3 years!) It is not contained to a certain geographic region or race and effects so many lives that the UN has declared a National day of recognition for it.

I think it's great that there is so much going into support to help families deal with the complex issues they face with Autism. And it's great to see walks and fundraisers for more research so that the help is there.  But it is on a day like that day that it makes me wish Rhys was Austistic.

Now, dont get me wrong. I do not wish any type of disease or imparement or illness or stigma on any of my children. But I do wish I had an answer for him. And autism would be an "easy" one.  It would mean knowing how to deal. It would mean having a plan. It would mean getting the support he needs. It would be a start to the next phase of life, but at least that phase has a huge community of doctors, supporters, therapists, and even celebrities all who understand and deal with the same things you deal with. And that label gets you in the door.

I have looked into the  Austism Spectrum but Rhys just doesn't fit that many criteria; and I keep looking every few months. I do those at-home tests online, but it doesn't all add up. And I've had his preschood teacher and his doctor and pediatrician all say that he doesn't fit the label. Which is a good thing. But also a frustrating thing.

Currently, he is a label-less boy who is falling through the cracks.

As I wait for something to pop up for him, I find my other son seeking a label as well.  I was talking to my friend about the teacher thinking that Kai may have ADHD, and my surprise at him fitting some of the symptoms. She looked concerned and replied with a shake of her head, "Oh, you don't want to put him on medication!"

I understood her thinking. It can seem that doctors and teachers want to medicate and subdue our children. Especially our boys. And it's not something that I want to do either, but after talking with the school SEA Co-ordinator, and seeing how Kai is at home, I can't help but feel that I'd accept medicating him if it will help!

If slapping a label on him gets him the help he needs, then I'm all for it! Please, give us a name! I am learning that without a name, schools can't seem to do anything, and doctor's don't know what to do. We need that label to move forward.  I'll take an "easy" and friendly, well-known one (like Austism and ADHD). I'll even go for a complex one that is misunderstood. I just want something.

And to think that one day I would be desiring a label for my child! We don't want to let a name hold him back, but use it as a way to understand and learn. And to move forward. 

It helps get you through the door.


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