Labels Are Bullshit

posted in: Monkey My Son, Parenting 169 comments

“Tell me, who is the taller boy in this picture?” she asked, expectantly.

My nearly 3-year old looked at her with his big puppy dog eyes, and stayed silent.

He doesn’t know what tall or short means, I fume silently.

“What is this?” she shows him a hairbrush.

Another silent look.

I should have taught him what a hairbrush was. Although we’ve never used one. 

My heart sank to my feet.

Then, more of the same. Inability to identify certain objects. But he can match all 12 colors and know all their names. He’s not jumping high enough in the air for her liking, but he can count to 20.

After a rushed two-hour “evaluation”, this doctor, a child development specialist (I think, she never gave me her business card), operating out of our pediatrician’s office as a side job, told my husband and I that our son, was “on the spectrum”. That his language skills was that of an 12 month old, but his visual learning skills is off the charts at 4 years. That because he couldn’t hold a pencil the way he “should”, his something-or-the-other capacity is only at 2 years. That because he likes to “line things up”, he’s not a normal nearly 3-year old.

Every question she asked sounded leading.

How does he react to loud noises? He puts his hands over his ears. But so do I!

Was he a difficult baby? Yes, he was a poor sleeper, but he’s been sleeping fine since he was 18 months old!

Did you have postpartum complications? Yes, severe bleeding. But what does this have to do with my son?

Any family history of epilepsy? Yes, a cousin, but no one else and she’s fine now. Again, what??

How does he play with toy cars? He likes to spin the wheels continuously. But he also rolls them across the floor!

Does he stare off into the distance? Not often, sometimes. But who doesn’t? Isn’t that daydreaming?

Is he a picky eater? Yes, very. But we thought that was normal?

Every conclusion she came to, I wanted to jump in and tell her that she was wrong.

We walked out, stunned. All we thought was that he had a speech delay.

Instead, we came home with a “on the spectrum” label, and orders to get him occupational therapy (“To do what? Learn how to hold a pencil?” my husband exclaimed to me in disbelief. For the record, he can hold a pencil.), and speech therapy.

Let me tell you something, labels are bullshit.

At this juncture, I need to say that I am not disrespecting parents of special needs children, or the children themselves. I am not being defensive of my child (“He’s not on the spectrum!”) because I cannot accept reality. If my son has autism, or is on the spectrum, or has a learning disability, I will be in his corner. I will be his advocate, I will do everything in my power to help him succeed, I am his mother.

But, we don’t believe that he is. Yes, he has some speech challenges, yes he has some quirks (which up until then, we thought were just toddler quirks – because what toddler doesn’t like to line stuff up?), yes he doesn’t know the word for that thing you use to brush hair with, because no one owns that in this house (yes, I haven’t brushed my hair in 7 years, don’t judge) and no one told him what it was.

It doesn’t give some doctor – one who appeared to have preconceived notions of a child she’d never met – a right, in two hours, to tick off some boxes on a piece of paper, and slap a label on my child. Throughout the session, I was uncomfortable with her questions – the way she asked them, the way she seemed to be digging for specific answers, the way she refused to let us speak to put into context some of the answers to her questions.

So I’m taking this label off my child.

We recognize some of the issues he has, and we are addressing them. Without the label.

Because he is my son. He is a person. He is not a bloody label.

* He started preschool shortly after this evaluation, and he’s been doing very well. We’re still working on the talking thing, and he has a way to go, but it’s progress.

** I understand that in some countries, giving a diagnosis or a label as I called it, is necessary to move the child onto necessary treatment and therapy. In Malaysia though, it does not work that way. Everything here is private – you want a speech therapist, Google one you can afford, call them up and set up an appointment. Period. There is no follow up, no mandatory testing, no subsidized therapies, nothing. It’s all up to the parents. 

 Have you or your child ever struggled with an unfair label? How did you address it?

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • January 9, 2013 Kristen

    I think you need to listen to your heart and your gut. You are his parents and you know him better than anyone. Give him some time to get settled in at preschool and then see where the road leads you. You’ll know which way to turn when the time comes.
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    • January 13, 2013 Alison

      Yes, that is exactly what we’re doing. Although so far, it’s hard to get settled. He only goes 3 days a week, and because we started him in the middle of November, there has been many disruptions – holidays, illnesses and just as we thought we’re getting back on track this month, he’s just fallen sick again. Ugh.

      But onward and upward. We truly believe that over time, he will thrive in school.

  • January 9, 2013 Doctor G

    Labels only help if they… help! Some people need a name, even an imperfect, we-could-be-wrong-about-this name in order to take any more steps. Some parents spend so much time and money and blood and tears searching for a diagnosis, before they are willing to try any therapies, any games, any anything. For those parents, a wrong label is better than no answer. But that is not you! Kudos to you for being proactive to get your beautiful boy practice in the skills he needs.

    The only advantage I can see in the system you have is that the label doesn’t have to “stick” if you don’t want it to. It sounds like you are being the best parents he could possibly ask for.

    • January 13, 2013 Alison

      You’re right, it is a good thing that the way the system works here, the ‘label’ does not have to stick. We didn’t even get a report! It’s a mostly private health system here – you take all the initiative for diagnosis, evaluations and treatments, into your own hands here. And we’re doing that.

  • January 9, 2013 @eldergeek AKA Don Crowder

    When I was a child there was no Autism Spectrum. I was told again and again that I just “wasn’t trying” and that I only needed to “knuckle down”. I knew I was trying, despite their accusations, so I finally decided they didn’t really care about me and did, in the end, quit trying. I found out that I am a, so called, “high functioning autistic” about a year ago when a twitter friend sent me to the AQ test, online,

    The best you can do is insist they verify their off-hand diagnosis with frequent tests and DON’T let them drug your child into a submissive stupor. That’s their favorite “solution” to a child who doesn’t quite fit the “standard” mold.

    • January 13, 2013 Alison

      Thanks for sharing, Don. And I’m sorry you had to go through what you did.
      I am not resisting the label because of the label, I am resisting it for two reasons – 1. I know my son and 2. The methods in which he was evaluated.
      And no drugs. Gosh, no. He’s only 3. He just needs some growing into various areas/ skills.
      Also, I think you’re more than high functioning – heck, you probably function better than those of us who are ‘normal’ – and who is defining us? 🙂

  • January 9, 2013 greta

    I get this. Of course you know your son better than that lady thought she did. My oldest didn’t talk until he was well over three. We had him evaluated and there were so many questions like that. He started talking shortly after and now won’t shut his mouth. There’s nothing wrong with waiting and seeing how he does in preschool. Hugs!

    • January 13, 2013 Alison

      Greta, stories like yours comfort me, because it confirms my suspicions that it is not beyond comprehension that a 3 year old still doesn’t talk in full sentences frequently.

      I can’t wait for the day when I can tell someone that my son won’t shut up. Heh. 🙂

  • January 9, 2013 Elaine A.

    Oh gosh, this makes me so upset. I agree with Kristen, only you know your son best. But I’m just wondering, from what you said at the end… did you elect to take him to be evaluated? Could you possibly have him evaluated by someone else that is not HER? Or do you think it would all be the same? Just curious. Hang in there. And don’t worry about the BS labels. xoxo

    • January 13, 2013 Alison

      We did take him in voluntarily – after we had a chat with his pediatrician, who suggested that we see her friend, a child development specialist, just to confirm his speech delay, and maybe help nudge him in the right direction to ‘unblock’ it.

      Little did we know what we were walking into. We can definitely look into getting evaluated again by someone else, but at the moment, we’re not going down that road, just yet.

      And thank you! xo

  • January 9, 2013 Kristin

    I’m so sorry, Alison. That sounds like a very difficult experience, especially if you were unprepared for it. May I make a suggestion, though? Get a second – and possibly a third – opinion with a different child development specialist. And also talk to his pre-school teacher(s). He may very well only have a speech delay. But he may also be on the spectrum. You won’t truly know unless you do a little more digging.

    I say this as the wife and daughter of educators – and my mom is a kindergarten teacher with 30+ years of early childhood development who has sat in on numerous evals and IEP meetings. Advocacy is key – as much in terms of getting to the root of the problem as defending your child against false and unnecessary labels. So, that’s just my objective opinion – get another evaluation.

    And also I’m giving you a big, virtual hug.
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    • January 13, 2013 Alison

      Thanks for the hug, Kristin, always appreciated.

      We have had brief conversations with his teachers, and so far, no one has pointed out anything that they noted as being unusual (they already know about the speech delay and food pickiness). I’m sure we will know more when we have a parent-teacher meeting at the end of term in a couple of months, and from there, we will decide on our next steps.

      Getting a second opinion is wise, and an option, something we’re keeping at the back of our minds. But right now, we’re focusing on helping him with speech first, and all the other stuff that ‘doctor’ claimed he couldn’t do (he can now!). Thanks for your opinion, always appreciated and valued.

  • January 9, 2013 angela

    Reading this made me ache for you, not because of the label but because of the way your voice seemed not to carry any weight during the evaluation process. I don’t know much about how that process works but it does seem that there should be some sort of dialogue before a diagnosis is given. Your Monkey is lucky to have you. xo
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    • January 13, 2013 Alison

      Angela, you’re right. I am angry at the fact that we were discounted from the whole experience (despite her taking our word for it in various parts of the evaluation, when she had us answer questions, but did not care to know what we think in other parts of the session). And thank you. xo

  • January 9, 2013 Masala Chica

    I agree – 100%. We are way too quick to label in our society and children get shuffled around as they are “categorized” in one way or another. I hate it. You need to follow your instincts, your guts and yes – be the advocate your child – and god I wish it could be possible – EVERY child – so desperately deserves.

    Glad you went there.
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    • January 13, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Kiran. The need to put people in boxes, doesn’t just end when they grow up does it? For now, his Mama will have to fight for him. 🙂 xo

  • January 9, 2013 Ana Gaby

    I agree with everyone who says you know your boy the best! I thought about taking Evan to a speech therapist because I thought he had a delay but it was just because we speak both spanish and english to him at home. Every kid develops differently and a checklist doesn’t mean anything unless you see other signs. Big hugs!
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    • January 13, 2013 Alison

      Ana, my thinking about my son’s speech ‘delay’ is also tied into the fact that we are a bilingual household – we speak English at home and his grandparents speak Arabic, and he spends a fair amount of time there. That being said, we do acknowledge that he is still a little behind, which is why we are hoping school will even things out for him. If not in a couple of months, then speech therapy it is.

  • January 9, 2013 thedoseofreality

    I think labels can be very tricky. I am very hesitant to buy into them unless absolutely necessary.
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    • January 13, 2013 Alison

      I agree, me too. I do see how in some cases, it is useful and necessary (eg getting treatment etc) but not in our case.

  • January 9, 2013 Robin

    I totally get it – that would frustrate me too. It’s almost like this is so common now that a label is the first stop. And I think that opting to deal with this just by helping your child and watching him and being open to allowing him to develop at his own pace is just the right thing to do. Hugs.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      I do hope it is the right thing to do, because it’s the only thing that feels right. Thank you.

  • January 9, 2013 Julia

    I agree with you labels are bullshit and I think doctors in general are quick to slap a label on people. We haven’t had a problem with labels but at my sons 2 month check up I remember being asked if he was a fussy baby and when my hubs said yes the md said must have colic and waved her hand dismissively and when I asked what to do she said, “you must be a first time mom”. I left angry at having been judged by a woman I just met because I was a new mom. Good for you for knowing your son and not accepting what you don’t believe to be true.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      New moms really get the shaft! 🙂

  • January 9, 2013 Mamaintheburbs

    I would definitely talk to his teachers at preschool and see how he is adapting there. Also what 3 yr old knows how to hold a pencil correctly. I think this woman was being a little too harsh if you ask me. I don’t have experience with what you are going through but certain things like knowing what a hair brush is and having never been introduced to one shouldn’t label your son being on the spectrum. On the other hand, you have to fight for your son and make sure you are doing everything you can possibly can or him…..which I wouldn’t doubt for a second you won’t do. So get a few more opinions. And see where that leads you. Until then, keep your spirits up and your heart full. We are all here for you!

    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Yes, getting another opinion is definitely on the cards, thank you for your support!

  • January 9, 2013 ilene

    Alison, I believe 100% that as a parent, you know in your heart what your child needs and whether or not the “label” belongs there. A parent’s heart is never wrong. All good things to you and your family.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Ilene. I do believe that we know better, not because we are on some kind of high horse, but because we are his parents. Thank you for getting that.

  • January 9, 2013 Rach (DonutsMama)

    I talked to someone, over the phone mind you, about possibly bringing D in b/c of her separation anxiety. She asked me about 4 questions and then said it was Asperger’s. Never even met D. I was furious and so was my husband. We talked to someone else who actually knows D and is a child psychologist and said there was nothing wrong with her–she has some anxiety but it’s not something that can’t be overcome. Sometimes it feels like if my kid is shy or hesitant, then that’s not “normal” b/c extroversion is supposed to be normal and therefore we must label those kids. I hate it too. I’m sure your boy will be just fine! You’re doing a great job.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      OMG, that’s worse than my experience to an extent. The thing with these syndromes is, it’s so broad. And our society is so quick to label. Also? ‘Normal’ is also broad ranging in definition. My brother-in-law, who we told about this incident, said very rightly, if this doctor is right about Monkey, then to an extent, ALL of us are on the spectrum. 🙂

  • January 9, 2013 Leigh Ann

    Your instincts are talking loud and clear, and you are wise to listen to them. Get another opinion if that’s an option. Hang in there, Alison. I know you’ll do whatever is best for him. 🙂
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      It’s definitely an option – as long as we are willing to go out and find another doctor, and pay for the evaluation. 🙂 It’s something we are keeping in our back pockets for now. We will see how school plays out this term, and go from there.

  • January 9, 2013 Neena

    I hate labels too.
    You know your child best, so stick with what you believe.
    It sounds like you have a good handle on things.
    Walk away from this experience with the new knowledge of what to watch for. If you become concerned – then follow up.
    Otherwise, file the label away and forget about it.
    You sound like a fantastic mom!
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Neena, that is exactly our action course right now. Appreciate the support and advice!

  • January 9, 2013 Kimberly

    This made my heart ache for you. We had to go through the evaluation process with Kaleb about a year and a half ago. The questions they asked were, to me, nonsense, and they didn’t let me explain the context of anything that I was answering. It was very frustrating and resulted in lots of tears and yelling from me.

    You know your child better than anyone else. Listen to your heart and your gut. It sounds like you are doing the right thing for him and he will be so grateful to you for that.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      And how is Kaleb now? He’s obviously doing well – I mean, he’s plotting against you already! 🙂
      I do hope we are doing right by him. I feel that we are.

  • January 9, 2013 Galit Breen

    You follow that mama gut. It’s telling you -loud and clear- what to do.

    {I loved the note that you added about how things work in Malaysia. That, for sure, changes things.}

    I have no doubt whatsoever that you’re doing and advocating and learning everything you need to do your best for your sweet boy,

    So much love to you both.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      It’s a different world out here, when it comes to stuff like that, my friend. Glad you understand. And thank you, for everything. xo

  • January 9, 2013 Mama Pants

    Oh I have been in this place you are in. You are an amazing mother and you know your child. My little guy spoke his own language, still lines up his cars and spins wheels, is crazy smart with numbers and colors and math but could speak English until recently. Then BAM he started talking. Oh and he still can’t hold a pencil well. The way I see it, they develop at a rate that works for them. As they develop one area into greatness (math/colors etc), the other areas wait back until the child is ready to put focus there. None of that means ASD to me. We had my son tested too. They ruled out autism for sensory integration difficulty. They wanted us to get an official diagnosis at 2 yrs old. I stopped the process. He is a happy kid. He is smart and awesome. Sure he’s totally quirky but it’s not making his life hard or holding him back. If it does, then we will look into an official diagnosis. But for now we are just allowing him to groe and learn and he is doing great.

    Wonderful post, Alison. Your words hit me where I live.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      You son sounds like mine, honestly. Crazy good and smart with some things, and totally behind in others. He even started walking late (14.5 months), which we figured was just laziness on his part, hah! You’re right about the not holding him back part – which is why we’re only really concerned about the speech delay. We feel that he can get so much more out of his daily life, if only he could communicate better with all of us.

  • January 9, 2013 Tonya

    Reading this, I was getting frustrated right there with you. Two hours with your son is not long enough for her to know him like you do. Listen to your gut, seek another opinion, observe him, research, be his advocate and never settle for a label you don’t wholeheartedly agree with!
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Yes, exactly what we’re doing right now (except for the second opinion, we’re holding out on that a little longer). Thank you, my friend, for the love and support.

  • January 9, 2013 anymommy

    You do know him. You’re his parents. And (just from my own experience) go with your gut on the doctor too. You should like professional, how they deal with you, how they address you, whether they listen to your concerns. Even if there is a label or diagnosis that could help you to the correct resources (and I’m not saying there is, just if there were), you should like and trust the person you discuss it with.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      You’re right Stacey – this has a lot to do with the person doing the evaluation as well. Not 10 minutes into this 2-hour session, I was already having a niggling feeling that this may not be the best idea. I love being right about things, but wish I was wrong about this one.

      I’m totally prepared to accept a label, if that’s necessary to move things forward – just if it was the right one.

  • January 9, 2013 Vanita

    girl when my nephew was 4, no one could understand anything he said. it was so quick and high pitched and a lot seemed like giberish. the kid is in 1st grade now, speaks clearly, can sync nintendo DSs so he and damian can play, can use his mom’s iPhone to search for new games on and is doing great in school.
    damian’s 3rd year was very much like your son’s and they did a lot of the same things. at four years old, damian can hold a crayon perfectly to write on my walls when he thinks no one is watching, but if we’re practicing letter writing he gets nervous and holds the pencil “wrong” and at 4 he speaks too clear sometimes. dont you worry. some kids take a bit longer like our boys, some go super fast like tash, they all go at their own pace. (i would love to b slap that woman)
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Hah! I love your last line.

      I’m glad to know that a delay is not out of the norm. Which surely means one can’t just slap labels on children and call it a day. Thanks for sharing, V, it’s assuring!

  • January 9, 2013 Mirjam

    I have had the same frustrating encounter with a doctor. My daughter would not speak to strangers at that age and would not cooperate with any tests. I was so annoyed that a doctor who is supposed to be a specialist but could not look outside the box and couldn’t see how bright she was. Children develop at their own pace and sometimes they need a little help along the way. That’s perfectly normal. If there is something wrong preschool will pick up on that.
    I’m sorry you were treated that way.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Right? Just because a child is not good at a test (by their definition), it must mean something is wrong with them, when that is not the case.

      I do hope the school will help, and picking up on signs that things may not be right, is one of them. So far, we haven’t had reports of that. We’ll see when we meet with them for the parent-teacher meeting!

  • January 9, 2013 Mrs. Jen B

    All I can do is give you a hug and offer prayers and love. Some kids just need to be in a school atmosphere for things to start clicking. I’m sure he’ll keep progressing well. Til then, keep listening to your gut. A friend of mine went through something very similar a few years back and those leading questions sound very familiar. And as I told her then, it seems like everyone is so eager to put kids in boxes nowadays. Sure, once a diagnosis is made, the correct steps can be taken – but it has to be the right diagnosis.

    Like I said, love and prayers. And hugs.

    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Precisely. Thank you for your wise words, support, love, prayers and hugs, Jen.

  • January 9, 2013 Kim

    How frustrating this must be, Alison. The only thing I can say is follow your instincts; you are the expert on your son. You know him best. Labels aren’t the important thing; your child is most important to you. It sounds like you are doing the very best possible for him.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      You’re right, he comes first, before any label. We are doing our best, as we always have been. Thank you.

  • January 9, 2013 Leah

    Hang in there! Don’t get hung up on labels! Get hung up on what your child needs! I am a Soeech therapist and sometimes people want labels and I always say “who cares? Doesn’t change what you need to do!” I also know that labels at a young age can really negatively influence people…. I was told my son was not coordinated, hip probs, balance issues, would not be a good athlete, don’t expect much. Take him to Physio and OT – which we did- and it helped in some issues because he needed the help. BUT although he needed help – the labels were wrong. He is the star athlete in the family. MVP in competitive soccer. He lives and breathes soccer. So glad I didn’t take on the label rather I just gave him what he needed as an individual. Follow your gut. Get support where you think he needs. Don’t shy away from help but don’t assume a label has to be slapped on because he needs some help – most kids will need help at some point:)

    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Thank you Leah. You’re right, most kids need help and as parents, we can see where he does, without any labels. I feel that labels (in his case at least) limit us, and him. We’ll just do what we need to do to help him along.

  • January 9, 2013 tracy

    You’re a good mom. Listen to your heart. Hug your boys. xoxo
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Doing all that. Thank you. Love you. xo

  • January 9, 2013 Keely

    Oh, I would’ve gone nuts if I couldn’t help explain stuff to my 3 year old- the words that WE use for objects, etc etc. Agreed with some others- not a thing is wrong with having a kid on the spectrum, but listen to YOU.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Right? Plus he speaks two languages. So.
      Thank you. xo

  • January 9, 2013 Natalie

    I would feel the same way you did…not all kids fit in some box. They do have certain quirks b/c that’s what kids do…I feel like now the world feels like every kid needs to be tested every second of the day to where he/she fits. I’m actually glad that your country doesn’t force tests b/c honestly when I was forced to have my child to have a hearing test right after he was born…I thought for who? The state? If I thought he had hearing issues then I would have him tested…it just shows how things can get so distorted and “we” as parents should have the welfare of our children at heart not someone who is just trying to check off a box. Sending hugs your way!
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Exactly. We actually care for the kid, not the stats or some boxes. Yes, the lackluster system here is now to our advantage. It leaves us in charge, not the state.

  • January 9, 2013 Shannon

    If the label isn’t going to serve any purpose, get you any services, etc. then I don’t see the point of having one. Maybe he needs time to show who he is and how his mind works before a doctor or teacher or whoever decides for him. I think it’s a whole value/cost question. What is the value of a diagnosis/label versus the cost of wearing it?
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Shannon, good questions. The only reason we had him seen was to confirm a speech delay, and ask for advice on next steps. Little did we know what we were in for! You’re right, we need to give him time to grow into his own, and for now, that is what we’re doing.

  • January 9, 2013 AnnMarie

    Oh, Alison. My heart really is aching for you. I deal with this all the time. Look up Cytic Fibrosis and see the label they slapped on my boys. I know it’s different. It’s confirmed that they have the genes but the label: sick kid. Guts me because they are NOT sick. I went to one doctor who only saw the label and wanted my boys in the hospital with IVs and feeding tubes. She didn’t even look at them. I went to another who saw them as his projects, as guinea pigs. I am finally with a doctor who listens to me and sees my boys for who they are. NOT the label. Listen to your gut. You know Monkey better than some woman with a check list and if it isn’t going to help anyway, then you just keep doing what you are doing. It might take small steps but he’ll get there. With your help, he’ll get there.

    You are a great mom and Monkey is lucky to have you.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, AnnMarie. It’s good to hear that we’re doing the right thing, from someone who’s been there, and dealt with this BS.

  • January 9, 2013 Julie

    I’m sorry for the frustration you’re experiencing right now. I still don’t understand much about all the “spectrum” talk, and I was a teacher! I agree with most of the other people who say that you’re his parent, and you know him better than some doctor with a checklist. And you’re smart too, so if he does need help in some areas, I know you’ll see that he gets it.
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    • January 14, 2013 Alison

      Thanks Julie – we do know him better. She didn’t even try, and I hate her for that.

  • January 10, 2013 molly

    Oh man. I’m sorry that happened. If I were you I would get a second opinion!!!
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Thanks Molly, we will consider a second opinion in a few more months. We want to see how he does at school first, but we’re looking into speech therapy.

  • January 10, 2013 Natalie

    You’re really brave for sharing this and for being so honest about your feelings about it. I think I’d be much the same way. I think everybody is too quick these days to have to slap a name on behaviors that aren’t exactly the norm.

    Dr. G’s advice is great. I say keep doing what you’re doing and at some point you will find that the label is either right or wrong. You’ll deal with it either way.
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Yes, yes we will. As long as the label is the right one, whatever that may be.

  • January 10, 2013 Katie E

    This basically describes why we haven’t taken our boy for an assessment. There’s nothing physically wrong with him. He’s a little quirky. I think there’s a lot he doesn’t necessarily know because he stays home with his dad, and if he’s not exposed to the same things my girls were at his age when they were in daycare. That’s okay, right? Maybe it’s a little weird that he likes to sit calmly and run dental floss through his hands over and over again. And he puts his hands over his ears sometimes too when there are loud noises. And he doesn’t talk at all. But we’re leaning towards waiting a few months and letting him grow and develop before we go for the assessment and they start pushing therapy. We’ll see! Just wanted to say that I totally understand how you feel!
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for sharing, Katie. You are his parents, so you know best when it’s time (or not) to have him evaluated. We didn’t even think there was any need for an evaluation of that kind – we thought we were bringing him to get confirm his speech delay, that’s all! She barely looked at/ observed/ talked to him. Sigh. Good luck to you!

  • January 10, 2013 Roxanne

    Honestly, I’m glad that you’re ripping the label away. This means you are listening to your heart. You know him better than anybody. Good for you. Do what’s best for you and your family. xo
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Roxanne. That is most certainly what we’re doing.

  • January 10, 2013 Susanna Leonard Hill

    I am not a developmental specialist, Alison, but I do have 5 children and have been a teacher of dyslexic kids. And while some of what your son is doing or saying (or not doing or not saying) may be indicative of a problem, I can tell you that my extremely bright daughter who is now a sophomore at a very prestigious New England College couldn’t pronounce certain consonant combinations properly until she was 6, and she had a whole vocabulary of words which I understood but no one else did – caaberry instead of strawberry for example. My son, who is an amazing and talented musician on multiple instruments including guitar, bass, keyboards, banjo, and mandolin, was told he needed occupational therapy in kindergarten and 1st grade because he couldn’t hold a pencil right or tie his shoes – small motor tasks were hard for him. He did not get therapy – it was too expensive and not covered by our insurance in this instance and we felt, like you do, that it wasn’t necessary – but like I said, he plays all those instruments REALLY well – so I don’t think his fine motor skills have held him back 🙂 You know your child better than anyone. You will know if something isn’t right. Address what you feel you should address and leave the labels for now 🙂

    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for sharing, Susanna (and gosh, your children are so gifted!). You’re right, we do know him better than anyone. Me especially – he’s been with me nearly all the time from the time he was born. Far from being blindsided by that, I can see him clearly, and what he is or isn’t. We acknowledge the speech delay, which is something we’re looking into getting help for.

  • January 10, 2013 Amanda Jillian

    That sounds like bullshit. People always wanted to label AJ with a speech delay and his doctor said he was ahead of the curve. He knew how he just want to do instead of talk. And then people want to say he has ADHD and I’m like its cause we live with my grandparents and they pump him full of sugar. We are too quick to label everyone now. Meanwhile I have dyslexia and no one labeled me lol cause my mom refuses to admit it. I’ve learned to deal without any actually “help” that kids get now.

    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      It is BS because of her methodology that was suspect, more than anything. You know your son best, Amanda!

  • January 10, 2013 Shell

    Two hours is a very short amount of time to come up with any sort of conclusive diagnosis. When we had my Bear evaluated, it was over the course of several appointments, each lasting a few hours. Also, we have been told that it’s more common to simply use the term “developmental delays” until about age 7- because so much can change in those early years. Even though my son was diagnosed as being on the spectrum last year, it was suggested he be tested again this year because so much can change at his age.

    I’ve gotten to the point of not caring what label is used for my child as long as it helps him get the help that he needs. He was going to speech therapy and OT before any official diagnosis but simply because his doctor said it would be helpful. The doctor recommendation helped have our insurance pay for part of it(certainly not free) as opposed to if I was just saying on my own that he needed it. But the label wasn’t needed for that help. But for help in school- he did need to have it to receive special services- so that’s where I said whatever, slap every label on him if that is what it takes to get him help.

    All that said- you know your child best.
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Shell, thanks for sharing. I understand the need for labels – in many situations, it’s required to move forward in the right direction. It sounds like you did what you had to, to get Bear the help and support he needs.

      Unfortunately, in our situation, things don’t work like that here. Regardless, labels are still helpful if they’re the right one, if they were come by using the right methods. Two hours, IS too short. She barely look at or talked to him, except when she administered those tests!

  • January 10, 2013 Arnebya

    I love the idea of continued (if any) therapy being up to the parents. I was pissed for you once you said she wouldn’t allow you to add context. You know your kid and you know you aren’t purposefully not noticing his issues. That said, I’d say go a step further and have him seen again bbut ask first specific question about how the evaluation will go, if you’ll be able to speak/discuss during the interview or if it’s just a set of questions that many of us can answer yes to for our toddlers because they seem overly general. This way, you can be sure that you’re addressing any doubt and helping him as much as he may need.
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Thanks for your input, Arnebya! We were definitely unprepared for this evaluation, we were almost ambushed. We actually didn’t have any idea what it’d be like, as we thought we were having him seen for, for his speech delay. We didn’t know she was going to do an evaluation like this.

      Having experienced this, yes, we will definitely do more research should we decide to seek a second opinion. Right now, we are wait-and-see how he does at preschool, though were exploring some options for speech therapy.

  • January 10, 2013 Jennifer

    My best friend’s son was diagnosed with autism last year. She has known from the beginning that he was non-typical, but she resisted having him “labeled” until last year when she finally felt like it was time. I understand why she did it and encouraged her down that path. I think here, in the US, we are so quick to slap a label on a child instead of just waiting to see if it is just a stage. I definitely understand where you are coming from.
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Thanks, Jennifer. I can see your friend’s point of view. This is such a difficult thing for parents. I am by nature, a doer though. So if he does have issues, and needs help, I would be more than happy to have him evaluated properly by proper therapists, rather than this crock of a doctor we were recommended. He is however, only 3. I truly believe that it’s just a speech delay, and once he’s really talking, so many of the issues we have, will clear up. We’ll see, we’re looking into speech therapy now.

  • January 10, 2013 Kim

    Shell and Kristin offered up great advice. Read and learn what you can so you can be the best advocate possible, and continue to love your son and encourage him to be his joyful best!
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Kim. Definitely doing that now!

  • January 10, 2013 Tracie

    It definitely sounds like she was seeking to fit a label onto him. Good for you for moving forward without the label. If you need to do another evaluation in the future, it is great that you can go to whomever you want, and don’t have to return to her.
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Yes, the beauty of a non-system here is that everything’s private, and at your own initiative. Should we seek another opinion, it’d definitely be with someone we’ve researched extensively and/ or recommended highly.

  • January 10, 2013 KalleyC

    This made me so sad when I read this. We are too quick with labels in this society. Deep down you know your son better than any specialist. Keeping you in my prayers.
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Kalley.

  • January 10, 2013 Phase Three of Life

    I’m kind of fuming for you over here… First of all, Ryan has liked to line stuff up since he was able to move objects from point A to point B. Loud noises scare him because he’s 2-1/2. He stares into the distance when he’s tired (the same as me). To not allow you to put any of these things in context is ridiculous and does not serve your son. My son does all kinds of stuff that is typical of 2-year-olds and all sorts of stuff that is not (he’s an absolute neat freak, for instance). And likewise, I think I am typical of other 30-year-olds in a lot of ways and there are ways that I’m not. No two people are the same. That’s the beauty of individuality. I am glad you are not accepting the label as fact and are choosing, instead, to simply do what is best for your son to help him progress in a way that makes sense. Good luck, hunny!
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      My son is a neat freak too and I know exactly why that is -it’s because I am, and because I’m a stay-at-home mom, he’s with me all the time. So he just does what he sees. Like a typical child. But we weren’t given the opportunity at all to give anything we said, any context. The whole thing was just a farce. Sigh. And thank you!

  • January 10, 2013 Christine

    I’m so sorry that you had to go through this. We are SO quick to label – it makes things nice and neat and pretty and organized and people then think they know how to “deal” with the person or whatever issue it is. But it doesn’t always work that way and it’s messy and imperfect. As others have said, YOU and your husband know Monkey best. You are his parents and you need to listen to your heart and gut and give him the time to come into his own. And get another opinion too which I’m sure that you’ve done. No matter what, Monkey has an incredible advocate on his side. xox
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      We haven’t gotten a second opinion as yet, mostly because we don’t think he needs an evaluation. We do know he needs speech therapy, and we’re looking it, I think once he can talk as he should be at this age, a lot of the ‘issues’ we have will be solved. Fingers crossed.

  • January 10, 2013 Karen Dawkins

    I understand. My son was your son. Today, 15, he brought home an Honors English project with a 100% score. No special needs tutor. No special accommodations. Our road to here was long, sometimes tear-filled, sometimes euphoric. Yet we are here.

    May this post encourage you:
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Karen, thank you for the support and for sharing your story. It fills me with hope that our boy will turn out as well yours did.

  • January 10, 2013 Leslie

    Have I mentioned to you before my belief that therapists like that specifically attempt to give children labels? Speech delays can be very normal (says the woman who didn’t speak much until the age of two. I even had a teacher in the early 80s wanting to diagnose me with autism – notsomuch. Turns out I just needed tubes in my ears). As for lining things up…our three year old does that constantly. Just before the age of two she decorated the television with stickers – perfectly lined up. Now I battle my parents who want to label a young girl we know with Autism/Aspergers. Again, she just has a speech delay. This whole subject just infuriates me. (BTW, I also actually know someone who is truly autistic; and having the right diagnosis can be an incredible relief to parents who have been searching for those kind of answers, but it really seems to have been overdiagnosed recently)
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      It’s very frustrating that children with speech delays are immediately assumed to be autistic or on the spectrum. Especially so when we, as his parents, we know better. His challenges are mostly linked to the fact that he can’t communicate effectively with us due to the speech delay. But that doctor? She just wanted to confirm what she assumed.

  • January 10, 2013 Kirsten

    Yes, labels ARE bullshit – and I am the parent of a child with autism. The thing is, my son was diagnosed after being assessed by a multidisciplinary team for a month. His diagnostic report runs to seventeen pages. It’s a diagnosis that I can believe in, stand behind, and act upon. A single two- hour appointment does not seem to be enough.

    While a diagnosis may have value – certainly DOES have value when it comes to the acquisition of services and funding – in the context of real life it’s just a word. It does not change who your kid is. It does not alter the fact that we work to help our kids with whatever difficulties they are having. And from what I understand, having the diagnosis doesn’t even help you in practical terms the way it does here in Canada.

    You know your child better than anyone, and you are doing a fine job with him.
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Kirsten, thank you so much for weighing in. Can you believe we weren’t even given a report? It’s literally a slapdash session, just to make a couple of hundred bucks off us. It’s practically a scam.

      Yes, over here, we don’t have the kinds of services countries like the US and Canada do. It’s all up to us (and our money) to help our child.

  • January 10, 2013 tabitha vos

    My sister went through something similar to this with her 5 yr old son. Just because he didn’t know everything when he entered Kindergarten. She bought flashcards and started teaching him herself at home. Next meeting with the teacher, the teacher was amazed. Seems kids are supposed to know everything before school now. He came home last week with an excellent report card and certificate for most improved. Seems a lot of school systems now has one mold for children and when a child is unique and doesn’t fit in that mold then there is something wrong with them. Several diagnosed with autism or ADD. I think your son will be just fine. Go with your gut and don’t let them label him according to their protocol. Just my 2 cents.

    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Thanks for sharing, Tabitha. We strongly believe that it’s just a speech delay, and once that’s resolved, our child will emerge under the shadow of what this doctor believes to be a spectrum disorder.

  • January 10, 2013 Carolyn

    Oh I could so feel your frustration? Anger? Either way, listen to your instincts. In the end, your his mother and know and will do the best for him.
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      Both. Mostly anger. 🙂

  • January 10, 2013 Jenni Chiu

    Labels ARE bullshit. Labels exist to make people the same… even the ones who are different are clumped into the same kind of different. You know your son. If you don’t need or want a label right now, good on you for not accepting it!
    Your boy is freaking awesome… and you are one good mother.
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    • January 15, 2013 Alison

      You’re right, we don’t need the label. We recognize the speech delay (didn’t need a professional to tell us that), so we’re addressing it.

  • January 10, 2013 Melissa

    Wow. I’m so sorry. This must be so frustrating and confusing. I’m no expert, but it seems like a very broad definition of “on the spectrum.” If that’s the case, half the population would be on the spectrum! Can you get a second opinion?
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      That’s what my brother-in-law said!

      We can definitely get a second opinion, but not just yet. We’re looking into speech therapy first.

  • Oh Allison, how my heart sank when I read this. That must have been two awful hours.
    I’ve been there, the therapists and all. And I can tell you that you are right, it is not possible to determine whether or not a child has a label in two hours and by ticking of boxes. You are his mother and your gut is the one you should be listening to.
    I was diagnosed with ADD and Dyscalculia at 8. It was a process which took two weeks.
    I’d say keep an eye on things. He has just started kindergarten, you’d be amazed at the change kids go through when they start school.
    Oh and for the record: every toddler I know lines up his toys. Every.Single.One.Of.Them.
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Preschool, not yet kindergarten (not so fast!!). Yes, we’re definitely hoping school will help him along in some areas.
      The lining up thing? Yes, everyone I know who has a toddler that age has said the same thing! I know children on the spectrum do this, but they also do a lot of other things. Context. There was no context.

  • January 10, 2013 Maggie S.

    Labels are Bullshit.
    I tried to write a comment for 30 minutes. It makes me so mad; I have to just give up and say, Yes. That’s right.

    Good for you.

    I stand with you.
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for standing with me, Maggie!

  • January 10, 2013 Valerie


    I’m sorry you had to go through this experience. It sounds awful.

    When my son was four, his teacher informed us that she thinks there is something wrong with his brain. She said that he exhibits different behaviors from other children in her class. One of the examples she provided was that he doesn’t want to walk around in a circle while listening to classical music. Instead, he jumps around and bumps into other kids. We were also told that he doesn’t have age appropriate fine motor skills. Shortly after that we had him evaluated and the diagnosis was that he is showing signs of ADD and additional evaluation is necessary to confirm. My husband and I decided not to go through with it and continued to work with him. As he got older, he settled down and today he is doing great in school. I think that if we had continued with the process, at some point professionals would have recommended medication. I am so glad we followed our instincts and chose a different path.
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Thanks for sharing, Valerie, and I’m glad you followed your gut on this one.
      Just as we are, with our son.

  • January 10, 2013 Maggie S.

    Whatever good that is?
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  • January 10, 2013 Sammy

    Yes, yes, yes! You’re so right. Go by your own gut. The experts probably not as spot on as you’re with your own child!! Boy, have I learned this.

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      We are the real experts in our children. So we’re listening to our instincts.

  • January 11, 2013 julie gardner

    I know you know this already, but let me say it again. Loudly.


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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Thank goodness I’m a fierce Mama Bear.

  • January 11, 2013 Courtney Kirkland

    I’m so glad that you put this out there. I think a lot of parents feel like their kids are labeled in some way or another, and it’s crap. I hate that you guys are dealing with this. But I think parents know best…especially a mom who spends so much time day in and day out with her kids. Go with your gut. Thinking of you, girl!
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Exactly! IF there was something different about my son, I would be the first to notice. I brought up the speech delay with my family when he was 2. But we did the wait-and-see approach (maybe not our best move), but the rest of it? No, we just don’t agree with her.

  • January 11, 2013 MamaCassie

    I agree with Kristen. Listen to your gut. You know what’s best for your child, and you’re no dummy. Children learn at different paces, it doesn’t mean anything but just that. <3 *hugs*
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Cassie!

  • January 11, 2013 Tammy

    Hey Alison,
    Wow, this all sort of made me stop breathing while I read it. Our son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism at 3. He was a really difficult kid. But he’s “typical” now, and I have serious issues with all of this, what I think is, over-diagnosing. It’s like everyone needs to be “something.”

    IF you feel like reading about what we ended up doing, it’s under “Newt’s Story” and “Peeling the Onion” in categories at my blog (I really need to make it easier to find — so unorganized). And email me if you want to talk about anything. I don’t think you’re crazy. Like my friend the teacher always says, “You’re his mother — you know him best.” 🙂
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Thanks Tammy! I will go check out your posts, I need to know more, find more like-minded folks. Thanks again!

  • January 11, 2013 lisacng

    You are absolutely right to go with your gut on your son’s development. You are with him all day, not just for a 2 hr evaluation. If you think he has speech development issue, then just pursue that. You both seem like you have good heads on your shoulders, which is great for you and your son, which will also mean he gets the right help. When my son was 15 mos and still not walking, our pediatrician recommended a similar evaluation. When the people showed up a month later, my son was walking fine. Nevertheless, they evaluated him and told us that he was a bit behind on speech and recognition because he didn’t know where the trash can was (because we hadn’t been making him throw stuff away at that point), and he didn’t know which picture was the dog or the baby. Even though we don’t comb our hair, we did show him once so he got an ace on that question ;). In conclusion, go with your parental instinct! No more labels. No more labels.

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      I don’t know how people expect kids to know certain things when they haven’t been taught it – it’s not like they’re born knowing what a trash can or a hairbrush is, right?

      Definitely going with our gut here.

  • January 11, 2013 adrienne

    Such a powerful post, Alison! It definitely sounds like that therapist (or whatever she is) had some pre conceived opinions. That’s so frustrating! I commend you for your passion about this. You are his mommy. You know him best!

    I wrote a post last week, or maybe the week before, about Labels.
    Labels ARE bullshit! Even when you’re on the other end. Yo’re absolutley right. Sometimes as parents you need labels for your kids. But they still suck.
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      They totally suck. Great post there, Adrienne!

  • January 11, 2013 Tracy

    I had a label put on my son when he was 7. We were told that he was a slow reader. He had started reading before Kindergarten and had progressed quickly after that. When he was 7 he went to a new school. A week later he was sent home from school with a paper that said he had been put into a special group for children that were behind in reading skills. So I went to the school and spoke to the person that had done the “testing”. He had been asked to read a passage that was at the grade level he was in….. to a microphone. This is a child that was shy and uncoordinated. This is a person that IS (he is now 27) on the spectrum even though they didn’t diagnose children as “high functioning” as him at the time. I insisted he be retested using a different means. Turns out he was reading well above grade level. I mention he is on the spectrum to bring up that if he were on the spectrum it wouldn’t be the end of the world. My son is married and has an engineering degree. He and his wife just purchased their 2nd condo in preparation of having a family, since the first one was too small. He and his wife make more than we do. They have plenty of friends and are busy with their friends most weekends. He has learned to make his life fit his “quirks”. Just don’t mess with his schedule without notice 🙂

    If you don’t feel this testing adequately worked within your child’s knowledge, seek out someone else to test him. Make sure that you have the opportunity to voice your concerns about any part of the testing. Testing a child about what things are called is directly related to their experiences. You should have had the opportunity to have a question “thrown out” of the results if it couldn’t relate to his experiences.

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for sharing, Tracy. It is so reassuring and comforting to know that if it is Something, it’s not the end of the world. How well your son is doing is a testament to you, his mother!

  • January 11, 2013 Sue

    She doesn’t know your son.

    You do.

    Mama knows best.

    That is all. xo
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Thank you, Sue. xo

  • January 11, 2013 TOI

    I 100% agree with you. I HATE LABELS, I’ve always hated them. I hate when people try to push children into a box. i’ve often wondered how people would live if their didn’t have somebody telling them you have this or that. we would life to it fullest and never let anything prevent us from reaching are goal.

    Please, please stay with your decision to NOT label him

    my daughter was born with a limb difference (four digits of her left are missing), i know that she can do anything she wishes to do and from the moment she was born and we found out i decided to raise her not to be a victim of the situation. she is so outgoing that it would be a pity to label her and worry that she can’t do anything so we tell not to try. The only thing I worry about is bullies at school one day. One thing I want to look into is awareness about limb difference (LD) because people with LD are not disabled, they may do things differently but they don’t have to be label.

    All the best
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Thank you for sharing your story – you should absolutely look into creating awareness for LD!

      You’re right, just because some people are wired differently, they shouldn’t have to be slapped with a label, and treated as less than.

  • January 11, 2013 Jessica

    I believe that as his parent you know what is best. I don’t know if I have the right words to give you but just know that I will always be here to support you.
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      I appreciate the support, Jess, thank you!

  • January 11, 2013 Angela

    Trust your mama gut – you know your child! It sounds like he’s settling in at preschool. Maybe he just isn’t a talker? Best of luck! And yes, labels do absolutely SUCK!
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      He is settling in. We really thought he’d be a talker, he was babbling since he was 11 months old!

  • January 11, 2013 Ashley Ellis

    My oldest stutters severely. At five, he had difficulty stringing more than a couple words together without getting blocked. In our school district they test kids orally for alphabet recognition in kindergarten. As you can imagine, he didn’t do well. In 60 seconds, he could say three letters. We asked for him to be tested another way. Maybe by placing the letters on a table and letting him point to them, but were told that was not how the test was administered. The school choose to pull him for intervention for him to progress to first grade. I was devastated. Then my mom said something very wise which I’ll never forget. “Don’t ever turn down extra help for your child even if you don’t think he needs it. Extra help can only be a good thing.” He did the intervention, he continued with speech therapy. Now a fourth grader, he’s a stutter who is also a voracious reader.

    I’m glad I took her advice.
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    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Your mother is wise, Ashley. We would be happy to accept help – if only that was what was offered 🙂

  • January 12, 2013 Julia

    Oh my goodness, Alison, I don’t like this at all.
    I completely agree with you that the assessment seems unfair.
    My degree is in Early Childhood Education and Development and never have I seen such a test. Children all develop at different levels and I do not think that the inability to identify one object places your son on a “spectrum.”
    He sounds like a perfectly normal toddler, (you are right, toddlers do like to line things up, and are often picky eaters.)
    And actually, the ability to “correctly” hold a pencil and write is not a fine motor skill children are developmentally ready to master until age 5.
    This assessment seems unfair and developmentally inappropriate. Good for you for seeing through it and recognizing the amazing talents your son does have. I’m so sorry you had to go through that!!
    If you are concerned about a speech delay, I might recommend what other commentors have said; a second evaluation. And I’m so proud of you for listening to your mommy heart and knowing that your son is right where he should be. Three.
    Julia recently wrote…Suddenly OvernightMy Profile

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Julia, I’m so glad to hear from someone like you, with the theoretical knowledge and practical experience, to say that this assessment was wrong and developmentally inappropriate!
      We will definitely look into a second opinion – once we decide that it’s required. Right now, we are looking into speech therapy. Resources here for that sort of thing are scarce (well, not completely scarce, just not easy finding the right one).

  • January 12, 2013 Stacie

    You know what’s best for you son. My son (now 9) never got a label and never had any delays. BUT he totally lined up cars – all the way across the room. He covered his ears for loud noises and he’s still a super picky eater. Go with your instincts 🙂
    Stacie recently wrote…Geekin’ Out At GamestopMy Profile

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Stacie, so glad to know that some things are totally normal!!

  • January 12, 2013 Maureen

    Oh Alison, I can relate on a certain level! My boy still struggle with fine motor skills of holding a pencil. He was also a late talker but that was from him speaking dual language NOT because there is something wrong with him. Your boy is still so young, he’s bright and he will be just fine with a kick ass mama beside him!
    Maureen recently wrote…A Boy And His Little FaithMy Profile

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      My boy is also bilingual – we speak English at home and his grandparents speak Arabic. He can speak both to a certain level, just not both very well. Sigh. Good thing I haven’t taught him Chinese yet. 🙂

  • January 13, 2013 Jackie

    I remember when my son was a year old, the pediatrician was saying how he should know how to say this by this time, that by that time and a complete sentence by this many months. I thought, he’s no where near that. I got worried when she mentioned how he would need to see a speech therapist if he didn’t. But, I went with my gut and changed pediatricians. The next pediatrician told me he would talk when he was ready, and that’s exactly what I thought. He started talking when he was about 3 years old. He’s 6 now and he’s fine. I hate labels, and I think you should definitely go with your gut on this.

    Also, my son has always liked to line things up. Always.
    Jackie recently wrote…And I ranMy Profile

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Jackie, I’m so glad you followed your gut and your son is fine, just as you knew he would be.

  • January 13, 2013 Alexa

    Oh Alison – labels are bullshit! Totally agree!!! And, if it makes you feel any better at all, if I had taken my son in at the same age for the same evaluation, we probably would have gotten the same results. I can list out all kinds of reasons – I didn’t play with him as much as I should have, I never taught him words of things we didn’t use daily, I didn’t encourage the coloring and the pencil holding because he wasn’t into that, so I didn’t force him. He didn’t speak in full sentences until he was 3. When he went to 4 year old preschool, he was one of the few kids that could not hold a pencil and write letters. But guess what? He is in Kindergarten now, he is writing all of his letters and numbers, writing words by himself, reading books BY HIMSELF, and he is amazing. As you stated, it’s unfair to give a test of that nature and just assign a label. Especially at two years old! Your son is perfect, and I can tell you from experience, once you know the things to work on and can focus on those, he will be just fine. HUGS to you friend!!!
    Alexa recently wrote…The Mom Connection – Balancing Time With My ChildrenMy Profile

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Thank you Alexa, for sharing! I’m so glad your son is doing well – as I’m sure mine will too. 🙂

  • January 14, 2013 Susi

    Alison, I’m just now reading this and it so reminded me of how my little sister was at that age. We grew up in East-Germany and when she was little they didn’t have labels. To be honest I’ve never heard of autism, adhd etc until I moved to the US. My sister was a late bloomer — I started talking right out of the womb to hear my mom tell it, my sister was more the silent type. She just kinda grew out of it and did just fine… So yeah, I agree with you – labels are bs,
    Susi recently wrote…Picture Perfect Weekly #2 {The Things Only Edition}My Profile

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Children are all different, right?
      It seems that these days, people are so quick to diagnose and label kids. Makes me sad (and angry).

  • January 14, 2013 Katie

    Our ped was concerned when Eddie wasn’t talking at 2. and at 2.5 wasn’t really stringing words together much other than babbly. She wanted us to see a specialist. I balked. I knew he was fine. I don’t know why, I just did. So we did nothing. Other than talk to him all the time like we already did and read him a gazillion books like we already did and play with him like we already did.

    Now the child won’t shut up. Ever. He still can’t say r’s or L’s…and people think that is weird for 3.5, but I am not worried. He recognizes when WE say it like him (incorrectly) and gets mad. So I know it’s not a hearing thing. He’ll work it out. And if he doesn’t, we will do something about it.

    But yeah. Labels are stupid. Especially when you know in your momma heart they are wrong.
    Katie recently wrote…Project 365 {week 2}My Profile

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      I love when you write about your conversations with Eddie. I can almost hear his voice in my head. I’m glad you went with your gut. We are definitely going with ours.

  • January 14, 2013 c

    I don’t have children and can’t even imagine how you felt going into that appointment that sounds like it turned out to be far different what you were expecting. I have been with family members to doctor visits and walked away feeling like no matter what you say they had already diagnosed them before we went in and were just fitting all the responses to their preconceived ideas.

    You still have plenty of time to watch the situation and get another opinion if you feel like it is necessary. Hope he’s loving preschool!
    c recently wrote…My First CruiseMy Profile

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Yes, we definitely have time. And he is loving school!

  • January 15, 2013 Lady Jennie

    Woah. Okay, there is so much here. First of all, did you ask her to do the eval? I got the impression she was just poaching clients from the ped, but maybe I misread. And you’re right, there should be no leading questions!! It makes me mad to think she wanted to see what she wanted to see. So, I’m with you on no labels!!!! My kids have never had that happen, so I can’t relate on that level, but this still makes me up in arms that it happened to Monkey.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…Life in the Trenches – Chapter 2My Profile

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      Our pediatrician recommended her, after we expressed concerns about his speech delay. She gave us the impression that we were just going to see this lady about that. We were completely unprepared for what happened – no idea it was going to be an evaluation of that kind.

      Thank you for fuming on my behalf. 🙂

  • January 15, 2013 Natalie

    Ick–what a crappy evaluation! I’m so sorry. You know your child. Better than they ever will. And your label is the only one that matters.
    Natalie recently wrote…Santa. And Physics.My Profile

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      That is true, thank you.

  • January 15, 2013 Laura at Mommy Miracles

    I need to tell you that I read this while sitting in the hotel room and my heart ached for you. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to comment until now. You know your boy more than anyone else. You love him more than anyone else, and I know you will give him the best chances in life.

    He’s a great kid, and does not deserve to be pegged. You just keep on loving that boy like you’re doing and we’ll be here for you if ever labels need to be applied (whatever those labels may be).
    Laura at Mommy Miracles recently wrote…Little Girl in the Big CityMy Profile

    • January 16, 2013 Alison

      You know I count on you guys so much for support, advice and love. Thank you, Laura.

  • January 18, 2013 Runnermom-jen

    Oh gosh, Alison. I would be just as pissed as you! My (now 6 year old) didn’t talk until he was 3! three!!! Yes, he said mama, and papa, and a few words here and there, but NOTHING like he was *supposed* to be saying. And now? Well, now we can’t get him to shut up. He talked when he was ready to talk and not a moment sooner.
    And all of that other crap, not jumping high enough, etc…he’ll get there. Kids are all SO different!
    You know your child, you’d know in your gut if something wasn’t right. Again, I’d be pissed too. Labels are only good on food.
    Runnermom-jen recently wrote…Winter…My Profile

    • January 18, 2013 Alison

      Hah, labels are only for food – you’re awesome, Jen.
      He can totally jump, by the way.

  • January 18, 2013 Alma

    Alison, I think I am a bit late here in commenting but I think I need to share this with you.
    My son was a bit of the same. Max who is now 11 was a late bloomer for some things. He started to say the word “go” and point and grunt but then stopped speaking for a long time. We took him to an evaluation because we wanted to know. They did say he was fine and he would speak when he is ready.
    He had quirks too like lining up toys, food cannot touch each other, he had his own form of sign language, he walked on his tip toes. When I tell you he started to talk in full sentences without notice…we were stunned.
    He is extremely bright, has a thirst for books that is unbelievable. He reads 4 books in 2 weeks. Writes his own stories as well. I could go on … but I just want to say your boy will be fine.
    He has problems socially and gets bullied but not as often as in the past. He is getting better socially. He is the son of a wallflower after all . I still struggle online as well as in person, but i work hard.
    I will not go into how angry those doctors made me that labeled your boy. I agree labels are bullshit.
    I am happy he is doing better.
    Much hugs!!
    Alma recently wrote…Giveaway WinnerMy Profile

    • January 18, 2013 Alison

      Your son sounds amazing, Alma. Thank you for sharing your story!

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