Living label free

I am so privileged to teach several wonderful children who have special needs. They have taught me such amazing things over the years, and one of my favorite lessons has been the art of living label free! We are a label society. We love to stick tags on everything in order to identify and understand it, but labels can also have a very negative impact. A label usually comes with a grocery list of adjectives and boundaries. If you have (fill in the label), then you can't (fill in the blank) and you certainly will never be able to (fill in the blank). You get my drift?
I have one very special child in particular. He is the ripe old age of eight and outlived his life expectancy several years ago. He shouldn't even be here, much less running around my Kindermusik classroom every week-smiling, laughing, dancing, and singing!! I guess he never read that grocery list that followed his label. Time and time again, I've seen it with different children. What makes the difference? Why is one child able to accomplish more than another with the same label? Here's what I think:
  • Children are amazingly adaptive. If permitted and encouraged, they will find a way to do what they are interested in.
  • A parent's attitude about a label greatly influences their child's philosophy about it.
  • Use your child's strengths to encourage growth in the weak areas.
  • Make the learning experience as fun and interactive as possible.   
  • Find what motivates your child. They have to WANT to get past the label.

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