Some people love to offer diagnoses when you mention an issue. Pregnant and extra nauseated? You must be expecting twins! Wrist hurts? It's carpal tunnel syndrome, of course!
But when it comes to children, there seems to be an even greater fervor to pigeonhole them with diagnoses. Little boy wants to run and play, and doesn't want to sit still? Well, gosh, he must have ADHD! Young girl can't stand certain textures? Sensory/tactile issues! Student doesn't learn quite the same way as others, or doesn't socialize well? Asperger's, clearly!
What gets me is not the fact that these diagnoses exist, but rather the pseudo-brainaics who are all too eager to give you a diagnosis, without being asked in the first place.
My ex-MIL was such a person. If she noticed just one little "abnormal" trait from one of her grandchildren (including my son), she immediately pronounced a diagnosis of ADHD, Asperger's or, in my son's case, "tactile issues". No one was (or is) safe from her snap judgments, all given freely because she believes having a Master's Degree in education makes her an expert on people, especially children.
Because I write and throw/catch lefty, but do everything else with my right-hand, she told me I'm "wrong". Just that fact about how my body works is "wrong".
Now, there is absolutely no problem with any of the aforementioned diagnoses. In fact, my husband was diagnosed as ADHD when he was a child, and placed on medication. His 4th grade teacher found him impossible. She was incredibly insulting whenever she spoke to his mother, often implying his mother did not know how to parent properly. There are traits my husband still has that are overwhelmingly indicative of ADHD, and I've had to learn how to live with him, as well as communicate with him effectively.
What annoys me is when people throw these diagnoses around without taking the whole into consideration.
After all, I could look at a few facets of my ex-MIL's personality, and easily come up with a diagnosis of Asperger's. All of us could do that to anyone. It's one thing to suspect something, but it's another for it to actually exist.
Whatever happened to us just being who we are? So what if that person is rather loud and tactless. That doesn't necessarily mean they have Asperger's (or, as some of my adult autistic friends jokingly call it, "Ass-burgers"). So what if that child won't sit still. That isn't necessarily ADHD. So what if I won't eat mushrooms, because they're icky. I don't necessarily have sensory issues.
Personality differences, high levels of energy, certain preferences, and more shouldn't make us automatically leap to conclusions about a potential "issue". If you suspect something, go to an expert. Take others' "diagnoses" with a grain of salt. True ADHD or Asperger's manifests beyond just a few little preferences, or differences in personality or energy.
And if a child really does have something diagnosable, that isn't a negative thing. That just means we need to find a different way to relate to them.
Copyright (c) 2013 Wendy L. Callahan