Why Parents Should Not Fear The Stigma Of Diagnosis


To protect ones child is the most natural instincts a parent can have. You want the best for your child. Naturally the best for your child is for them to have to the H’s - Happiness and Health. Unfortunately for some this is not the case, or reaching that happiness and health is more complex for some children than others.

The problem is, how as parents do we address these situations. I believe all to often - and I am making no judgement here - we put social stigma and the fear of the path ahead  of what is right for our child. We mistakenly believe that our child is young enough for us to play the ostrich and bury our heads in the sand. But actually this is likely to do our children more phschological harm than addressing and even embracing a diagnosis.

I have had the honour of knowing, and even being related to, a number of people on the Autistic Spectrum. With each and every person they have all said that getting the diagnosis was the best thing to happen to them. One even wearing the diagnosis as a badge of honour. The reason for this is because they could no focus on being who they were without having to analyse why they were. If someone would question a behaviour, they could easily explain, and would not have to self-chastise. 

On a very different tact, I often wonder how difficult life would have been if my Hemiplegis et al hadn’t been diagnosed as early as it was. On a different level, I’m also aware of numerous people who struggled - and some who continue to struggle - due to a lack or lateness of dyslexia diagnosis.

As adults we understand the damage being labelled can cause. But one thing we fail to understand is that one of causes of that damage is labelling at the wrong time. Labelling is going to happen, no matter what you do. It’s how well a child has assimilated that label that counts. If a child embraces that label as part of their make-up any social stigma that might fly their way won’t sting as hard as it might otherwise do. 

The best way for a child to do this assimilation is by understanding and the de-stigmatisation from those closest to them. Earlier I mentioned the person I know who wears their autism spectrum diagnosis as a badge of honour. This is what I wish for every child with a challenge ahead of them. Whether it be disability, autism, ADHD, dyslexia or anything else. It is important not to be fearful of the challenge, but instead face that challenge head on. For when a child can face a challenge head on, equipped with the right weaponry for that challenge, it sets them up for their best possible future.

After all isn’t their best possible future what we are all striving for? 

Tom Turner

Strength Restored, 15 Queen Square, Leeds, England, LS2 8AJ