Before our daughter went to preschool, she had her share of little quirks. Some made us smile and reminded us that she was most certainly our daughter, others reminded us that she was unique, and others downright annoyed us. Still, those quirks were all manageable.
After a few years in school, however, those quirks became magnified and distorted. As she tried to deal with the anxiety and stress she felt, whatever problems she had multiplied as she developed newer and more severe coping mechanisms.
We soon found ourselves struggling to help her and began looking desperately for explanations for those behaviors. Sensory Integration Disorder? Asperger’s Syndrome? Anxiety Disorder? Gifted? We read books, held meetings with her pediatrician, teachers, and school counselor, and put our brains into overdrive as we tried to make sense of it all and come up with a plan.
By the end of her first grade year, we gave up our fight to find appropriate labels and instead turned to homeschooling. Since then, I’ve learned a few interesting things about labels:
- As the months passed and the added school anxieties disappeared, many of our daughter’s symptoms decreased in severity.
- Now that we no longer need a label to get her needs met in a classroom, we can do what we need to do without major evaluations or piles of paperwork.
- Instead of focusing on individual problems, we can focus on addressing her unique needs and improving her overall health and happiness.
- Evaluations and labels still have their place. With knowledge comes confidence. Also, consulting with a professional can help you explain things to family members and friends who also interact with your child.
- Homeschooling isn’t a one-size-fits-all band aid; however, it has afforded us more opportunities to focus on living with our issues rather than labeling them.
- While we ditched most of the other labels, we managed to gain a new one. Homeschoolers. So far, this is one label we wear proudly and don’t plan to lose any time soon.
Michelle is a wife, mother, writer, and Cajun who prefers everything extra spicy. Follow along at Lagniappe Academy, as she and her two girls learn to live life and lose the labels.