Sunday, April 17, 2016

Diagnostic ‘labels’: Don’t be so quick to discard

Book cover: 'Back to Normal, Why Ordinary Childhood Behavior is Mistaken for ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder' by Enrico Gnaulati. Image depicts a row of four plastic spoons, each holding a pill
From blogger Gail Forsyth-Vail writing at Beacon Broadside, I learned about an argument by Enrico Gnaulati, for removing children’s diagnostic “labels.” By briefly sharing my background, I hope to explain why this idea makes me uncomfortable.

When I grew up, I was painfully aware that I was not like other people. It was continually made evident by classmates who taunted and rejected me.

From kindergarten onward, I was a school-wide outcast.

​Adults condemned me as a picky eater, because I could not tolerate certain foods. On one occasion, a babysitter tried to force-feed me chocolate cake. My mother actually had to tell this person that I didn’t have to eat cake if I didn’t want it (because a clamped-shut mouth and pulling away in revulsion were not accepted as communication). My mother found me, face smeared with the cake that the sitter tried to force on me.