"Hands." Grace & Leisa, Photo: Rory Hamilton
Labels. It's something us special needs parents obsess over. Labels, can be viewed several ways. If there is an issue going on, many parents feel relief to have a name, to have a pathway to search for help and information, and to get help. Labels, unfortunate as some may view them, are needed for obtaining help within the public school system.
We can choose how we allow labels to affect us. We can view them as slapped on, hung onto us by society, etc. Or, we can go about living our lives and know that labels do not define us, as Jerry Newport aptly named his book about having Asperger’s/Autism: Your Life is Not a Label. Or, the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee’s slogan: “Down syndrome unites us, it doesn’t define us.”
It’s an important lesson I learned in my early 30s that carried me into the disAbility journey, which began near the end of that life decade. As individuals, we are each responsible for our own feelings. We choose how we are going to feel about things and other people and even their actions toward us. And, if we think that they think something about us and it bothers us...there’s likely something within us that believes it or believes something about us is inferior, etc. That’s my Truth and it’s radical to some, but not unique by any means.
Labels. You decide what they are going to mean and how much power You will assign them. I say: Label? Schmable! It doesn't define us!