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Book review: The Mislabeled Child

The Mislabeled Child (isbn9781401302252) is one that I happened upon at a particularly difficult time in parenting one of my children. It taught me to question the wisdom of lumping children into categories rather than looking at them as individuals.The professionals I liked working with were ones who were willing to admit that labels are convenient but not necessarily "real." Every child can go in and out of displaying symptoms of various disorders, even if they're perfectly normal. (Someone I know called me in distress one day because her child's preschool teacher had suggested she get him evaluated for autism. The suggestion was based on the fact that he flapped his hands like an autistic kid when he was excited!)

In The Mislabeled Child they show how often behaviors can be misunderstood: a partially deaf child is labeled learning-impaired, a gifted child is labeled ADHD, etc. While dismissing the use of drugs as a cure-all for behavioral problems, the authors provided an entire chapter on the drugs available and what their effects and side-effects are. That chapter on drugs really made me think about how easily our culture falls back on drugs as a simple cure-all, and helped me take a firm stance in my own situation.

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