There are many people who dislike using labels for themselves and others. They may not want to feel like they’re being told to be or not be a certain way. They might dislike the idea of fitting neatly inside the given label. People like to feel free, not held down or confined to a certain way of doing things.
While brushing off labels can be liberating, it can potentially be harmful at times if a person views a diagnosis as a label. There are many conditions, that if left undiagnosed, can leave a person feeling isolated and confused.
As a young child on the autism spectrum, even before I was officially diagnosed, I knew I was different. I didn’t quite fit in with the kids in the special education classrooms, but I didn’t always fit in with kids in mainstream classrooms either. I wasn’t made aware of my diagnosis until right before I started high school, and it didn’t come as a surprise. In fact, it was a big relief! For a long period of time, I actually completely and totally believed that I wasn’t human. I thought I belonged to another species, and I just looked human. I had an extremely negative self view. I believed I was unintelligent and “bad.” I don’t know that being told about my diagnosis would’ve helped at such a young age, however, it was extremely beneficial when I got older.
I’m thankful my parents pursued a diagnosis, even when some professionals brushed off their concerns.
A word of advice from an autistic adult with a learning disability — if you are concerned about you or your child having a specific condition, please seek out a professional! I can’t imagine being successful when I hate myself, am frustrated and alone. An official diagnosis of a particular condition does not mean someone is less than. A diagnosis itself will not hold me back. The point of a diagnosis is to bring understanding and awareness. It is then up to the person and their family as to what they will do with it.
Understanding and loving oneself can be essential for success in adulthood. Knowledge and acceptance by the family members can make the world of difference for a child.
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