Autism, attention deficit disorder, anxiety. A precipitated diagnosis and a so-called definitive conclusion for a growing child with a “strange” behaviour can lead to a boy or girl to be labelled under a category that will surely accompany him all his life, with the consequent consequences, both individual and social.
Some health professionals aim to point out this operating model. These professionals include psychologists, psychiatrists, paediatricians, teachers, professors, among others, who have decided to launch a manifesto in which they consider taking into account a more respectful look at the uniqueness and subjectivity of each child.
The manuals that exist on the different mental disorders used as a guide for understanding, among professionals, emphasize the description of symptoms, which sometimes correspond to normal growth situations but which are indicated by society as “different”, and usually lead to a greater number of diagnoses. Consequently, many doctors recommend greater medicalization of children and a large number of neurological tests to which many children are subjected.
There is much to observe when diagnosing a child. Children and adolescents are not a museum object like a butterfly catalogued with a skewer and a label. Doctors must know them thoroughly, get closer to their inner world.
For unnecessary labels to disappear it is needed to broaden diagnoses, including family situations, and the environment so that it does not turn into something fixed.
Doctors must value each individual with their peculiarities, their uniqueness. Spend time, create a loop, think about it. In short, go case by case, instead of placing children in boxes and under existing labels.
The label has the power to eliminate everything that defines the person’s being. Instead of considering a trait as a simple attribute, it is a restless child without more, to think in terms of an impulsive disorder. It’s as if we were telling the boy or girl: take this diagnosis, it’s your disorder, this is your destiny.
Professionals have to understand that there are minors who get bored; others that are restless, some that are excessively curious or repetitive and that condition does not always lead to a disorder, or if it does, it does not define him as a person. The goal is to listen to each child for their uniqueness.
The school also has a very significant task with the child with difficulties. When the child does not fall within the established canons of normality, the importance of defining concepts as diversity, inclusion or integration is essential. Inclusion does not mean isolating the different in a classroom, but to understand that rights are equal for all the students.
The importance of creating safe ties in school is crucial for the development of children. For example, children with difficulties are able to show immense advancements and acquire many instrumental skills when he’s able to establish a strong relationship with his teacher.
Many times, children grow lonely and leave school because of the lack of this link. Sometimes new teachers do not offer such attention to get the best of him. Taking this into account is essential to understanding the child’s individuality, to know what is happening to him and how to work with him.
At home, parents must pay attention to the child and everything that affects his life: school, doctors, etc. But especially, they should not be scared in front of a symptom. For example, in relation to attention deficit disorder, it is curious how the number of cases has increased in recent years, while in some countries such as France, it hasn’t. Why? Because the main component of the disorder that many studies speak of is not considered as a symptom.
Mental disorders lead to labels, which in turn lead to social stigma, and the older the individual is, as is often the case with teenagers, the more they feel isolated and marginalized.
If we avoid unscientific labels from childhood and understand the boy or girl as a whole, with his family history, his desires, his preferences, his games and his identifications, his life will be better, even with his difficulties.