21 November 2018

Dear Friend,

Yesterday she asked me why I labelled my child...

It hit a raw nerve.

The dilema, to label or not to label, started when we began the diagnostic process. Family and friends were quick to offer support and advice, most of which was meant to reassure but actually often lead to heated discussions as well meaning people told us;

There’s nothing wrong with that kid or he’s as bright as a button or don't label him too early.

I put their reactions down to embarrassment or denial; like autism was something to be ashamed of or that they believed he would grow out of.

Autism is not a label it is a diagnosis. Would people have had the same reaction if my son had been diagnosed with an illness or a visible disability? Would you tell someone not to use the term diabetic or downs syndrome?

I can honestly say that I did not begin chasing a diagnosis but that nursery and preschool nudged us in the direction of professionals because our son was having significant difficulties and we needed help. I simply could not ignore my son's needs.

I am sick of hearing the unsolicited advice; You don't want him to be defined by his label. Of course, I don't want my gorgeous boy to only be known as the boy with autism. I agree that we need to see the child before the diagnosis. But he is autistic...

If we hadn't accepted the autistic diagnosis then surely we wouldn't have been accepting our son for who he is?

Yesterday she asked me why I labelled my child...

I didn't. He was diagnosed with autism.

A glimpse into autism is a series of short letters that explore the impact autism has on our family on a day to day basis. Disclaimer: this is our experience not all autistic people are the same. 

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