Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why labels suck

I have a beautiful, incredibly talented, far too brilliant, almost 13 year old daughter. And she may soon be considered autistic.

We always knew that she had a harder time in social settings, especially school, than anyone of her intelligence should have. Luckily, she attends a private school where the teachers are capable and caring enough to really work with her. We tried public school once and the result was disastrous. However, it was that disaster that led to the diagnosis that made everything a little clearer for all the people who love her and led to a treatment plan that has been working.

My daughter has Asperger's. The American Psychiatric Association wants to dispose of that term by lumping this disorder with Autism. The two are closely related and my daughter's psychiatrist has long referred to her as a "spectrum kid," however there is a huge difference between Asperger's and Autism.

I find this all upsetting, not so much for my daughter, because she attends a school that is smart enough to focus on teaching rather than labeling. Her school records make no mention of her academic or social problems. She is known by name and not by label. But a lot of kids aren't so lucky.

Maybe I don't understand. Maybe there's something I'm missing. I don't know. But it scares me.


Elle said...

It shouldn't have to be this way, and I'm sorry that you're scared. I was going to say that she's fortunate to have you...but it sounds like it's the other way around as well. Hang in there. :)

Paige said...

Oh I'm sure I probably benefit far more from her. I don't know what life would be without her (and of course my son as well) but I know it wouldn't be nearly as interesting!

It really doesn't matter what some association chooses to call her. She has so many who know and love her to protect and help her, but not everyone does.