• The "Labeling" of America

    The Labeling of America
    by Jamie

    " It seems that America has fallen in love with the stamp of medical authority. Increasing numbers of children are given increasingly specific labels..." ~ Washington Post

    "Overall, assignment of the learning disabled label is associated with teachers’ lowered expectations, as well as more negative stereotypes and attitudes toward the labeled individual." ~ Study on the Effects of Labeling Children

    What is all the hype about "labeling" America's children? Have you ever wondered why the 1950's didn't hold as many learning disabled children? I sure have... People have blamed this increasing "rise" of learning disabilities on everything from preservatives to video games and the decay of our society. Sure, the 1950's didn't have Lady Gaga, Xbox, and ipads... yet, can we blame it all on things outside our educational system? Though each of these things may contribute, I don't believe they are the root.

    As a tutor for many public school children, I think about this issue a lot. I firmly believe that our children are being labeled simply because they don't fit in the box of what government schools have deemed "normal." Why does a child have to read by first grade, know their number concepts 1-20 by kindergarten, or speak eloquently by age 6? Granted, there are disabilities that need medical attention, and finding a diagnosis will help parents better educate their child. However, there is a balance and the evidence suggests that we have gone far beyond that point.

    Do all children look alike? Do they act alike? Do they have the same personality? We can all answer resoundingly, "NO!" So, with that in mind, why is it presumed that they will all learn in the same way? The disheartening thing about this is that if a child doesn't fit into that big box that government education has labeled "NORMAL", they have to explain them in some manner. The manner that they choose to do that is through "labeling" them with a specific LD. Because these children innocently learn at a different rate or in a different way than the "normal" child they are permanently labeled. These labels don't just affect them for a little while... Once labeled, the child carries this with them for life. How sad... Here is a quote about the effect labeling has on students at the college level...

    "Minner and Prater (1984) asked college teachers to judge the academic promise of a
    student portrayed as having learning disabilities, as well as their own ability to work successfully
    with such college students. According to the researchers, “the LD label significantly and
    negatively influenced faculty members’ initial expectations” ~ Study on the Effects of Labeling Children

    As homeschooling parents, we have a great opportunity. We can take our children that just don't "fit" into the box, and treat them as they are... normal, healthy, learning children. Whether your child is faster or slower than the so called "norm"... homeschooling fits! Parents can be the means to which children are encouraged and allowed to bloom in their own individual, unique, and wonderful way!
    This article was originally published in blog: The "Labeling" of America started by Homeschool_Online
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