EPSY 400 – Keyword Assignment: Labels

Labels. This word resonates with me more than any other during our short time in EPSY 400. We have discussed this word often in almost every education class I have taken so far. “Don’t label the students”, “Labels are harmful”, “Labels diminish the status of those that we place upon them”. These are familiar phrases that we ponder as we move forward in our training to become educators. However, I do not buy it. I am labelled. I have ADHD. I do not buy into the fact that labels diminish or harm a person. People hurt people. This sounds very basic, but it is true. The label ADHD does not affect me, it is the people who refuse to understand the gift that I have. Autism is not a label that defines a person, it is the people who deny that even with autism people can be brilliant and effective members of society. The labels do not change a person. However, the counterpoint is typically “If there were no labels, then people wouldn’t generalize people”. I agree, but in western culture is that even possible? Western culture labels EVERYTHING! I’m curious to see that when I have children there is not a label maker beside where they check the health of a newborn. It is mindset that needs to change. Either we need to get rid of labels, or get rid of the stigma behind the label. My vote is for removing the stigma. Labels assist us in understanding who we are. Without my ADHD label I was lost. I was changing jobs, depressed, suicidal. Then I discovered who I was. I will be honest. I tried to shed it at first. I didn’t want to be labelled, I wanted to be normal. But, it is when I embraced my label that I found myself. I understand myself better now that I have my label. I am proud of my label. Therefore, I feel that the mindset we need to change is that labels are harmful. The labels hold power when we let them hold power. It should not define someone, but empower them to explore their label and embrace it. I wear mine with pride. ADHD, brother, son, teacher. You should too. From LGBTQ to Austism to Gifted, everyone should wear their label. That is what makes you unique. That is the difference we can start from so I can look forward to getting to knowing you better. I have a label. Do you want to get to know me better?

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