our journey of hope and healing through autism

Do you put the label before the child?


Lately, I’ve had a few friends say things about “autistic children”. I realized that this way of phrasing things pierces my heart a bit.  In conversation, I often minimize what our experience has been, and how I feel about semantics like this.  I thought about whether to do share this, and whether I’m making a proverbial “mountain out of a mole hill”.   I don’t share this in anger or annoyance, but with the slight ache of what is, and how I wish that things were.

Saying “child with autism” or “autistic child”. Does it matter?  Is it semantics, or is it not? To me, it’s more than just semantics.  To me, it gives me a glimpse of how you view my child.  I don’t see a lot of people talking about someone’s “asthmatic child” or “stuttering child”.  Do people refer to their friend as their “hypertensive friend”? When you place a label, a diagnosis, before the child, that whispers to me that you see the label first, then perhaps the child behind it.  Or, at best, you see the challenges as one of the defining characteristics about the child.

This is not a one-size-fits-all world, and I know that there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer.  Maybe you do see my child behind their diagnosis?   Some I know see through the label, and  see a glimpse of my child.  Some people, who cheer my heart, see my child climb over the obstacles from her diagnosis, and celebrate the blossoming of who she is.  I have a special place in my heart for the people who see so well through the diagnosis that they don’t see a labeled child, they see my child and delight in my child’s true personality. What about you?  Can you see my child?


2 comments on “Do you put the label before the child?

  1. Rev Doc Lorna
    August 4, 2014

    Your blog is spot on! There is a wonderful ministry here in Houston where children are introduced to their buddy via a story, such as, “This is Sam. He is a highly curious and energetic five year old. He loves firetrucks, but the sirens and other loud noise make him nervous. If he is frightened he may try to run and hide. If you take the time to explain to him ahead of time what is about to happen he will be just fine. Mainly, he does not like surprises. He really wants to have friends and tries really hard to please people. He is a joy and delight. You will have a great day with Sam!” Wouldn’t it be great if the whole world worked that way?

    • holdingtomorrow
      August 4, 2014

      That is wonderful! What a great way to help the world become a more understanding place- starting with the littlest of it’s people. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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This entry was posted on August 2, 2014 by in ADHD, autism, feelings, Uncategorized, What's Up Lately and tagged , , .
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