The benefits of labels for LD people

“I don’t know what’s the matter with me. I think I’m broken”  – Quote from a 12 year old child with learning disabilities.

Labels have a bad reputation among many in the special needs community. Certainly, labels can be misused. But, if you think your child might be learning disabled, then, believe me: Your child has been labeled.

I got labeled. Way back then, almost no one knew about LD. So, I got labeled. My official diagnosis is minimal brain dysfunction. My unofficial labels included lazy, crazy, stupid, spazzo, retard and so on. Different kids react differently to these labels. I am not sure why. And different kids react to being LD differently, too. Some, like the kid quoted above, feel broken. Some LD children (like me) feel so broken they are suicidal.

So, before y0u shun labels like “LD person”,  “Child with a learning disability”, “ADHD”, “Asperger’s”, “HFA”, “Dyslexic” and so on, think about it. Would you rather that label, or the one your child has internalized? Partly, of course, this depends on what your child has internalized. Some LD children have such a strong sense of self (or such a lack of interest in others) that they don’t internalize those bad labels. Others, if they live and go to school in very protective environments, may not even hear those labels that much. But most do hear them and internalize them. And many feel broken.

I’d rather be disabled than broken, wouldn’t you?



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