A Glimpse into our Autism: The label

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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12 comments

  1. I had gotten a few of those myself when my son was younger. I always hated it because I did struggle with the label. I want people to know my son before seeing his diagnosis. But now that he has gotten better at advocating for himself, he is proud of his "label" and I stand by him. He knows his faults and he knows his strengths. He knows what struggles with and he knows what he is good at. I raised him to not be ashamed of who he is. And that is who he has become. You make an excellent point about the diagnosis versus label. You wouldn't call it a label to a diabetic or a Cancer patient, or anyone else really. So why is it such an issue with some people when it comes to Autism? #MixitUp

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    1. Thanks Michelle for giving such a well considered comment. Nice to know I am not alone with this xx

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  2. This is such a powerful post. Agree a diagnosis is not a label. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

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    1. Thanks for hosting #POCOLO and for your comment.

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  3. It's such a shame that we talk about "labels" rather than diagnosis. xx
    Thanks for sharing with #pocolo

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  4. I am so sad that the world is so hard for your son. Differently abled people need to be included for who they are and they have so much to bring to the table. A differing viewpoint, and new perspective, or a new way to think. M'wah dear Catie! #thesatsesh xoxo

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  5. As you know better than many - resources are so limited that a diagnosis is needed to even start to begin the conversation about accessing support for children who are showing signs of having AEN. It's a no-brainer - that you explain patiently and clearly here. xx #thesatsesh

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  6. I quite agree that it isn't labelling. Diagnosis is important; it is good that it is easier to get diagnoses these day. Diagnoses mean support (or at least should) and help people understand.

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    Replies
    1. Yes it should mean support and most importantly the right support. Thanks for your comment xx

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