The National Parenting Center

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School Labels





Has your child been given one of the following labels at school?

• Learning disabled
• Emotionally disturbed
• Mentally retarded
• Educationally handicapped
• Neurologically impaired

These are a few of the many terms used to label children in schools across the country. Schools label kids because it’s an efficient way of handling students who don’t fit the mold in the regular classroom. Yet research suggests that many school labels can be hazardous to children’s self esteem and cause parents and teachers to expect less from them in school.

If your child has been labeled, talk with school personnel and find out why. Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by complex, educational terms and scientific sounding test scores. Ask for simple answers in plain English. Check your child’s school file. If you find information that seems inconsistent with what you know to be true about your child, you can challenge the material and possibly have it changed.

Above all, encourage those who have contact with your child to see him not as an educational label, but rather as a whole person — with an unlimited potential to succeed in life.

Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. is an award-winning author and speaker with twenty-eight years of teaching experience from the primary through the doctoral level, and over one million copies of his books in print on issues related to learning and human development. He is the author of nine books including Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, In Their Own Way, Awakening Your Child’s Natural Genius, 7 Kinds of Smart, The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom, and Awakening Genius in the Classroom. His books have been translated into sixteen languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Danish, and Russian.

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