Posts Tagged ‘alcoholic’

Son labeled ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

I mentioned to the Mom whose son had been labeled ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) that I was not fond of labels. I said that while a “private label” may be necessary for funding, insurance, or medical purposes, I hoped that in everyday life, neither she nor her son would take the label too seriously in terms of finding solutions for school problems.

I have found that when working with a child who has been labeled ADD, say in grade 4, that I would generally ignore the label and inquire: “Harold, the teacher tells me that you have the ‘squirmies’ in her class, that you are a bit restless, that you don’t find it easy to stay at your desk. Is that right?”

I have found that it is much easier to help the child find ways to overcome the “squirmies” than it is to overcome a label, which is, in the final analysis, really a description of the child’s behavior, not an eternal pronouncement carved in stone.

No one really knows what’s going on inside the child’s head, exactly. I would much rather work with a friendly mystery, than a dismal certitude, wouldn’t you? Besides success is greatly enhanced when you work with concrete behavior, not deterministic labels.

The same problem occurs with adults. Let’s say somebody has been labeled “alcoholic.” It is a lot easier for them to change their behavior when I work with them in overcoming their “drinking problems,” which is a set of concrete behaviors, with which we can work, piece by piece, as opposed to trying to refute a label that some think is stamped in their psyche “forever.” – Doc Meek, South Jordan, Utah

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September 2020
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Parent and Teacher Choice