Labels

Some teachers and parents do not want to  ‘label’ a child as dyslexic.  But I  feel that decision does much more harm than good.  Here’s why.

One parent shared:

My husband is a medical doctor who told me, “In medicine, it is extremely rare for a patient to have 6 or 7 different conditions or diseases at the same time. So we start to search for 1 root cause that would create their many different symptoms.”

Yet the root cause of my son’s many academic problems, dyslexia, is a word that doesn’t see the light of day a lot. I have heard teachers and administrators claim, “There is no such thing,” or “We don’t like to ‘label’ children.”

But claiming dyslexia does not exist will not make it go away. You are just sentencing a child and their family to years of uncomprehending frustration.

Going back to the one root cause creating many symptoms:

What would a doctor say to a person who has the following symptoms: unusual weight loss, irritability, blurry vision, is tired all the time, is experiencing frequent urination, and often feels hungry?

Would he tell that person to drink more, eat more, put on weight and see an optician?

No. A doctor would say “Hmmm, that sounds a lot like diabetes. Let’s get you tested. If the test is positive, we can create a treatment program that works for you, and we can enable you to live a healthy and productive life.”

Do you see? I love labels, I love them! Once you have a label, you know what you are dealing with, you can talk to others about it, and you can seek help and find support.

I would far rather have one label that I can understand than a whole stack of symptoms that I don’t.

This parent agrees:

I have found many parents worry about labeling their child as dyslexic — and therefore, do not pursue testing.

We have found “dyslexia” to be a much better label than “lazy,” or “stubborn,” or “uncooperative.”

My son blossomed once he understood why reading and writing did not come easily for him, and that he could improve through tutoring.

Children may choose a far worse label, as this adult shares:

I’m 35 and have struggled with dyslexia my entire life, but I didn’t have a name for it. So I created my own name for it…DUMB.

Then I had to watch my little boy (who is now 17) go through the very same struggles in school. I told him every day (and still do) that he is smart. But if you don’t feel it, and your grades don’t reflect it, and you fail 3rd grade, nothing translates to SMART.

Today, we both know we have dyslexia, but it’s so hard to erase the old label of “dumb.”

Another parent shared:

Everyone told me that testing my son would insult and depress him — and categorize him — and be a waste of our money. For years, I believed that, which made my child virtually HATE me because I did not understand who he was, and HE knew something was ‘wrong.’

Once we got a diagnosis of ADHD and severe dyslexia, I saw all the weight lift off his shoulders. It’s like a light came on.

We began to work along side each other with the right homeschool materials, and I have seen a complete turnaround in his behavior, emotions, and learning.

It has also given him compassion for others.

Even homeschooled children need to know, as this parent shares:

I have to admit that I’ve always known something was wrong with my daughter, who is now 17. We tried so many approaches (colored overlays, physical exercises, and so many different phonics programs), but I never had her tested because I didn’t want to label her.

Thanks to homeschooling, I’ve been able to provide accommodations that match her needs. I’ve read aloud to her almost daily, so she has a great oral vocabulary. I record all of her textbooks, which she then listens to while following along.

I have her dictate most of her written work to me. We’ve been doing that since she was in 2nd grade.

But now that she’s approaching graduation and wants to go on to college, she needs to be more independent.

After watching your video, I decided to share my suspicions with my daughter. She cried when we went over the list of symptoms. She said for the first time, she realized that she wasn’t alone. She felt normal. She said it was so freeing to hear all of those things and to realize it wasn’t just “her” problem. She and I even joked that she could be the poster child for dyslexia.

To my surprise, she does not feel labeled. She feels hopeful.

So, parents, please share the correct label with your child:  dyslexia — not “dumb” or “lazy” or “stubborn.”

One response

  1. Ok, I’m 50 and I’m dyslexic. I did horrable in school. I am a pharmacist, I dable in medicinal chemistry, coding (computers), photography, astronomy, astrophotography, math (abstract algebra), and I generaly like to F with so called smart people.

    Yes, F them. I said it and I can say it again. The cool kids bring me my dinner, take away my garbage and clean up my mess. 🙂

    A good life is the best revenge. (

    My daughter is dyslexic too. She’s going to be a physicist and hopefully work for NASA or do some hardcore science.

    I invest in her, gold, Thorium nuclear power, and energy stocks.

    I’m not bragging, it suckes being dyslexic in your world, but at fifty, I just don’t care about anything but my family, charity, and my interests.

    Einstein was a mailman when he came up with E=MC(2). He saw it in his head.

    So there, tell your kids that normal school is full of it and that they can do whatever they want.

    R.

    Có, vít chúng tất cả. Bọn ngu ngốc và các dyslexics là những người thực sự thông minh.Trẻ em của bạn với tìm. Chỉ hỗ trợ họ và không hiển thị cho họ sự tức giận hoặc thất vọng. Tôi làm điều đó cho tất cả chúng ta.Tôi là Italiain và Lithiuanian.:)

    Taip, nuosirdi. Jie yra kvailas ir kad dyslexics nekilnojamojo protingas jų.Jūsų vaikai su tai sužinoti. Tiesiog juos remti ir nerodo jos pyktis ar nusivylimas. Man tai mums visiems.Aš Italiain ir Lithiuanian.

    Sì, tutte le loro vite. Sono stupidi e i dislessici sono quelli veri intelligenti.I bambini con questo trovano. Solo sostenerli ed essi non mostrare rabbia o frustrazione. Che fare per tutti noi.Io sono Italiain e Lithiuanian.:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: