This was forwarded to me in one of the online discussion groups to which I belong (how valuable these are!) and thought it was just too good to not share. If you’ve ever felt trapped in a diagnosis, particularly with your lovely and yet developing child, this is a good one to bolster your spirit.
Forget the Diagnosis (By Jene Aviram)
Autism! PDD-NOS! Aspergers syndrome! ADHD! High functioning! Low functioning! Delayed! Hearing these words about your child can be crushing. They can devastate you to your very core. The good news is THEY DON’T HAVE TO!
Let me tell you why…It doesn’t matter. That’s right. It simply doesn’t matter. If you want to really help your child then read on. I’m serious. Don’t be like the thousands who wish they had “lived” this concept sooner.
Pretend for a moment you have a newborn. He is simply perfect. By the time he is two years old, his fingers are so long, they look strange. You go to a renowned physician and ask “What’s wrong with my child? Why are his fingers so long?”. The physician smiles and says “Your child has a condition called spindle fingers. He has a natural gift for playing musical instruments. Many dream of having this talent”. You’re absolutely thrilled and can’t wait to share the news. You rush home but on the way you stop to buy a toy xylophone, piano, drum set and flute. You set them out on the floor when you get home and you watch proudly as your toddler strums each one of them. You don’t care that everyone else thinks it just sounds like noise. You have a budding musician on your hands and he’s practicing!
As the months go by you encourage your child to play instruments. He gets a little older and expresses his preference for the piano. You take him to piano lessons, listen to famous piano players and perhaps even go to concerts. You explain to your son that his fingers are long because he is talented at playing the piano. Your son plays the piano beautifully. He is proud of his fingers and his talent. You are proud of your son.
You run into the physician a few years later. You tell him proudly about your child’s piano skills. He smiles broadly and says “I made it all up. There is no condition called spindle fingers”. “What?” you shriek “that’s impossible. My child is an excellent player”. “Of course he is” says the physician “It’s called belief. You believed in your child’s fingers. You believed in his talent. You encouraged him. It didn’t matter how many mistakes he made. You hardly heard them because you knew he was on the path to greatness. Your son felt your belief. He saw it in your eyes. He felt it course through his being. It inspired him. Every time he looked at his long fingers he thought about his talent. He felt proud of himself. He knew he could do it. Your unwavering faith inspired him to be the best he can be”.
My advice to you is this. Forget about the boxes and the labels. Ignore the judgments. Your child is fascinating. Your child is a unique and wonderful being who is incredibly special. Give him or her the tools. Encourage them on their journey. Never lose faith in them. Stand by their side. Teach them as much as you can. Watch in delight as they soar far beyond everyone’s expectations. Everyone’s except yours and all those who joined your belief along the way!
Thanks Jene for articulating something that rings true for parents everywhere!