There’s a difference between labeling your child and accepting his diagnosis. Living with a diagnosis is not a label; it is a reality that we need to accept in order to learn that we all have strengths and limitations. Perfection is an ideal that we build in our minds to keep working towards something, but it is not a realistic goal.
To label means to limit someone because of his condition, to underestimate someone’s abilities because of the way he looks or the diagnosis he has. Society labels people with special needs when they use specific names to group them, like “the Downs,” “the r-word” or “the disabled”, yet sometimes we can see parents doing the same without even noticing that their kids are not a diagnosis but people first.
Another silent way of labeling the ones we love as parents or society is overprotecting. Overprotecting is a label that talks about lack of faith in the abilities of our kids. When you deprive your child of the opportunity to demonstrate his personal abilities, you are telling him that his efforts are not worthy and he cannot do it by himself. You are letting the diagnosis take over him. Let him try and learn from his mistakes. Look at the bright side of things and celebrate what he can do!
Labeling is also being so scared of accepting your child’s disability that you would rather avoid the issue and pretend that nothing is out of the ordinary. Not accepting your child’s diagnosis is also a really bad way of labeling. Disability is natural. Is not shameful, and it is not a label. It’s just a way of living, and it’s a part of whom your child is.
Accepting a diagnosis with love and pride is how we learn every day from a child’s condition and discover the things that make him unique. It is celebrating his personal strengths and working on his weakness, not to fix them, but to teach him how important it is to keep fighting, learning and pursuing his dreams forever.
Accepting a diagnosis is also about being realistic and objective about the things that your child can do, and the things that he may not be able to accomplish. It’s about reflecting on our humanity and celebrating his abilities instead of forever mourning his physical or intellectual limitations.
Living and loving with a disability, or a person who has a disability is finding new ways of celebrating life. It opens a big door in our minds to accept and welcome diversity. It is about setting aside our own prejudices and living lives filled with personal triumphs.
When you overcome your own fears and insecurities, you are not scared anymore of others. It’s not until we stop labeling and start accepting that we finally understand that there’s nothing wrong with living with a disability.