Life's Bullies-continuing saga-Labels and Children
More than a story this is what is happening to our children today. There are pockets of people who have recognised the evolutionary changes in our species and have sort to work with those changes. They come from all demographics as do the children
Since the 1980s when ‘labels’ were put on people (children and adults) to categorise certain differences in them to define the sort of assistance they might need to keep up or move forward or past those who were considered to have ‘normal’ behavioural patterns and ‘fitted in’ labelling has always been a misdemeanour. Look at the situation from a neutral position. It is not a teachers versis special needs students competition but what labelling has done to society in more than one instance and especially for those children trying to make their way in this world for their own personal accomplishments.
How can one explain personal differences in a world that doesn’t understand unless there is a label placed on the person one is describing? There is no comprehension or even help for those who are just a little out of step with the rest of us just because they march to a different drum. There is a whole industry ‘out there’ specialising in Early Childhood development,’ Specialised numeracy and literacy, Social development, and Special Needs which is growing as more of our children are diagnosed and labelled. Students going through Secondary education are being encouraged to pick subjects that will have them doing support subjects such as Speech therapy, Autism Management, Specialised teaching, Disabled Management, and for older students and return to schooling short courses in Teacher Support and Disabled support to name a few. All banking on the continuing rise of children with special needs to be considered ‘disabled’ enough to need these blossoming industries. But who are they supporting? To get all this help the child (and I say the child as those who have already slipped through the cracks and have become young adults or older if they come from a different decade which didn’t have all the opportunities our ‘labelled’ children have) has to be diagnosed as Autistic or Asperger or ADHD or any other of the Spectrum disorders but be deemed in the higher category of one of those ‘labels’ to get government assistance. I believe the cut off percentage is 70. If a child is deemed only 60 or 65 or even 69 percent ‘disabled’ the parents are on their own as is the child in the classroom. Then depending on the school’s financial management to afford a Teacher’s Aid not for one child but for several, or the ability to recruit enough volunteers to help out, or the reliance of parents or grandparents to fill in the volunteer gap to give the teacher more time to devote to her students who are there trying to learn. Then there are the children who aren’t labelled and who don’t need to be labelled but do need that little extra help to keep them up to the standard of the class. Sometimes this need is hidden until the marks show the need when it is too late and they are expected to graduate to secondary school with many gaps in the acquired subjects simply because they didn’t make a fuss in the classroom but appeared to be coping academically but not socially or the other way around. These are usually girls. Then you have the boys who disrupt the class just to get attention but when they get it show their difficulties. Technology in the class has also been able to gloss over some of their needs even though the school budget allowed extra tutoring for some of the strugglers. For some it is not the inability but what is going on in their lives outside the classroom and away from the eye of the teacher that is at fault; or in fact enable the child to excel in spite or despite them being slightly ‘different’. Parents don’t have to be ‘academic’ or ‘enlightened’ or ‘professional’ to spot the needs of a child who may differ from his/her siblings or if being the first child or the only child of a family of several generations of social dysfunction it comes with instinct or self-knowledge of their own experiences and why they were perhaps out of step with their peers. It comes with respect and love and social equality, and sometimes yes, it could come from being comfortable with your financial situation or the lesser need to struggle in life than others; or it could come from the need to have your children fare better in life than you did yourself; but it also comes with being self-assured and belief in yourself as well and your partner. No one can choose your parents or your siblings or the generations before you. Neither most times can you pick your children. Selective breeding is getting closer but there is a lot to learn before that happens satisfactorily; not that is isn’t going to happen eventually and then the human race will not be human.
But for now, and getting back to the subject of labelling children just because they are a little different just to get government assistance, putting them in separate school systems would be and is a bad mistake. The system at the moment is not satisfactory and yes those who are being disrupted from learning and the teachers who are struggling to manage that disruption should be listened to. But labelling is not the answer. The medical system should go back to the 1980s when all this serious labelling began and think just where the Spectrum characteristics originated. There are far more complicated mixes of characteristics than straight out labels and so complicated is the evolutionary process that is in action today that the categorising of children into standard labelling is unjust to the children being labelled. What is more frightening is that doctors and psychiatrists still have the controlling factor in determining whether a child ‘qualifies’ for one specific label and there is no help or understanding for the parents of a child whose sensitivity to emotional and or physical trauma is put down to mental illness category rather than having an investigation into whether the reaction is physical and or neurological.
Place of Burial