frusboy.jpgRecently I was reading some articles about ADHD one of the things that caught my attention was the use of ADHD in lieu of words like person or child. This really bothered me. In fact I find it offensive. Why does this bother me?

First, labels are dehumanizing. I have ADHD, I am not an ADHDer. I am a person just like you. I may have different issues and challenges than you. Everyone has stuff they have to deal with ADHD is a part of mine. Labels make me less of a person and inferior. For some it is an excuse to treat those of us with disabilities as insignificant or marginal.

I am not ADHD or LD. I am a person. ADHD and learning disabilities may partially define me. I am also creative, a college graduate, a music lover and a computer nerd. Being dyslexic is just one facet of me, not my total existence.

Please do not put me in a box. See me for who I am not for the challenges I face. Take the time to see the real me. Once you get past what I cannot do you may discover there are many things I can do and do well.

Those of us with any form of disability often have to first overcome the attitudes, biases or prejudgments that others have concerning disabilities. The first step in changing attitudes is with me and those who care about me. I must first see myself as valued individual created in the image of God. I am not LD, ADHD, or any other label. While to you it may be just a little thing understanding that having ADHD does not have to define, limit or marginalize me is a giant first step in being an individual.

I am reminded every day that I have a dyslexia and dysgraphia. I do not need anyone calling me a label to remind me. Most of the time it is the little things that remind me not the big things. This weekend I attended a function at church that required name tags. You know the little kind where you write your name with a pen. Well, I was the only person without one, in fact I never wear them. As usual when asked I refused. It is better to be thought a rebel than actually have someone attempt to read my writing. As usual, no one asked me why I would not wear one. So what is the big deal with a stupid little name tag? Well, I got tired of people commenting about how bad my writing is years ago so I stopped wearing those things. It really bothers me that I still cannot write legibly something most children above second grade can do.

Next, time you encounter someone with a disability take a few minutes and look beyond the label. Take some time to find the real person often hiding behind the label.

6 thoughts on “I’m a Person not A Label

  1. I think you make excellent points as usual, Dee. And if I’m being completely honest, I thought that your blog reference to an “ADHD mind” was more of a self-description of your thought processes, and not a diagnosis. I guess I didn’t realize that you actually have ADHD, until now.

    Thank you for sharing that; I assure you, it does not change how I view you at all. If anything, I only realize just how honest you really are, and that is a wonderful thing as far as I’m concerned.

    So for what it’s worth, your struggles are not at all obvious online, at least not to me. As far as I’m concerned you’re every bit as “normal” as I am (though that might be an even worse label, if I’m comparing you with me, LOL).


  2. ENM,

    Well, my tag-line also describes the randomness of my posts.

    Here is something I wrote several years ago about my experiences in school.

    Thanks for the kind words. Actually, if I only had ADHD it really wouldn’t be that much of a problem it is dysgraphia that is the biggest issue.

    Glad I’m as normal as you. Why be normal anyway.


  3. AMEN! Excellent post! I couldn’t agree with you more.
    This is an important message that I feel needs to be written about more. I too have dyslexia and ADD.
    My daughter too have dyslexia and possible ADHD. I don’t allow myself or anyone say “I am” dyslexic or “I am” ADD. I may have dyslexia and ADD but that is not who “I am” Nor will I allow anyone to identify my daughter with labeling. When I hear teachers and counselor at school refer to kids as “He or she is ADD”
    I quickly bring to their attention how by saying this, they are not seeing the true whole person but only one part of them and this usually ends up with the student seeing themselves a defected and they become the negative parts of the condition rather than take on more of the positive sides of the condition. They usually thank me and say they never realized what they were doing by referring some as “He or she is dyslexic rather that saying they have dyslexia. Enjoyed your blog. Thanks for taking the time to write it for us to learn from. Blessings!


  4. This is a wonderful point, and you have a great attitude, Dee! As a mother of a son that has ADHD, I try very hard to make the same points as you. I dont call him ADHD, but if the topic comes up I will say that he has ADHD. I’ve recently started my own site to inform people about ADHD, by providing a supportive place to get ADHD information and spread ADHD awareness. And, even though I try so hard not to label someone as ADHD, but just that they have ADHD I’m remembering that I have done that in some of my articles by using the term ADHD’er … But, not with that negative intention in my heart. I visite several ADHD forums and talk with people that have ADHD and parents of children with ADHD and they refere to themselfs as ADHD’ers, but now I’m going to be much more concious of using that term on my website!

    Thanks again! and keep up the work on such a great site!


  5. Janis,

    Looked briefly at you site will go back when I have more time. Sorry for the delay in posting your comment. It was stuck in the spam filter for some reason.



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