Are Labels Good for Kids

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The rise in labeling students with exceptionalities in our school systems has subsequently led to an increase in the number of special education classes and programs in public schools. The question remains as to whether these programs are arising for the right reasons. Scott Shannon, a medical doctor, stated that he, “Believed that the proliferation of mental and emotional disorders . . . reflects our tendency and willingness to find illness where there may be simple difference.” Labels can either serve to benefit or threaten a child’s learning experience. People neglect to realize that a child’s experiences or buildup of stress may have been brought on by a learning disability. I believe that children should not be labeled by their exceptionalities or disabilities, because that label comes with the stigma of being considered deficient or different than everyone else.

Parents who believe their children are suffering to fit in or are unsociable immediately turn to the medical system. Thus begins the treatment of children only on a symptomatic level, becoming lost to their labels. Over the past forty-five years the numbers of serious mental and emotional disorders has tripled in number. A psychiatric diagnosis to confirm a disability is made based on personal observation and physical testing, which ultimately still could be inconclusive. The true source of the problem begins when the cost of the labeling outweighs that short-term relief of a symptom. Even when the diagnosis of a child is correct, the kind of myopic thinking that overrelies on labels promotes terrible consequences to the child’s self esteem and sociability. “Once a diagnostic label is applied, it is often understood so rigidly that many potential treatments are ignored (or disallowed by insurers)…” The stigma surrounding that child’s label may distort the child’s self-perception and begin to view himself as being different or “defective” from the rest of his classmates. In the case of...
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