In 1943 Donald Triplett, of Forest Mississippi became the first child to be diagnosed with Austism. His parents chose to not only accept him as he was, but created a hometown environment of love and friendship that refused (even at age 77) to allow others to misinterpret or misrepresent him or his "oddity."?
Why are these labels important?
Labels or the?categorization?of behaviors can:?
- Teach self-awareness?
- Teach self- discipline?
- Identify genetic dispositions
- Prevent situations or environments based on misconceptions
- Identify ability
- Identify appropriate teaching methods?
- Identify appropriate communication tactics
- Advocate respectful attitudes ?
- Build self-esteem
- Create safe boundaries
- Increase expectations
- Allow for group socialization and support?
- Identify family genetics ?
Labels help professionals and family members find greater understanding. They offer insight into how the child perceives the world thus improving communication. ?When understood and used with love, labels can reduce frustration and help build self-esteem. Labels can help children safely explore the boundaries of both expectations and limitations.?
Many families, students, and educators have difficulty accepting labels. A few things to consider about labels:?
- Diagnosis are not Universal. It has been said that if you meet one child with Aspergers you have met one child with Aspergers.?
- Misinformation causes miscommunication and misunderstanding
- Over-Diagnosis - It's the current trend to have ADHD. Could it really be so prevalent??
- Over Prescription of medications. One medication leads to another which may lead to yet another..etc.
- Limitation - A risk to grouping by commonality is that you group students who are more different than alike.
- Self Prophecy - Labels may cause a child to focus on certain aspects of their personality at the expense of others.?
What can families do??
When I watched and listened to this story, I was overcome with the feeling of love that Mr. Triplett's family had for him. They confronted his issues by gaining an education from the best doctors of the time. They reevaluated him as knowledge and perceptions changed. They elevated their love by creating a circle of love for him that extended throughout their community. If other's felt that Mr. Triplett's behavior was odd, they learned to accept it as his "norm". He was praised for his abilities, protected from?exploitation, given opportunity for new experience, shown kindness, given the hope of realistic expectations, and accepted for who he was. In essence his family created for him an?environment?of love where his self esteem and self image were above the scientific definition. His self image has not been defined by his diagnosis, it has rather been honed by it.?
If today he has quirks, he does not allow them to interfere with his travels, his friends, or his "golf game." ?His family taught all of us of how family can bring the love and understanding that science cannot bring. It can create an environment where love is given priority. All children deserve to be seen mainly through the prescription of ?"family love."?
Donvan, By John, and Caren Zucker. "Autism’s First Child - Magazine - The Atlantic."?The Atlantic News and Analysis on Politics, Business, Culture, Technology, National, International, and Food – TheAtlantic.com. Oct. 2010. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. .
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