Gransnet forums


Labelling children.

(156 Posts)
Bopeep14 Tue 30-Jul-19 18:14:51

Hi all just would like a bit of input from you all.
I was in a supermarket today and saw a little boy walking with his mum who had a lanyard round his neck saying he was autistic. To me he looked like a normal little boy.
Is this a normal thing to do nowadays label children.
I really can not get my head around it.
I don't think i would like my autistic grandchild to walk around with a label on, is it just me.

Septimia Tue 30-Jul-19 18:19:21

I can understand why the label might be helpful, especially if they get separated, but perhaps a card in his pocket that he can show to people if necessary might be better, if he can cope with that.

The lanyard and label remind me of the yellow stars that the Nazis made Jewish people wear.

MissAdventure Tue 30-Jul-19 18:23:27

Oh I don't like that idea at all!

Perhaps I could wear one saying "p****d off" though?

Glammy57 Tue 30-Jul-19 18:26:17

MissA 😂. Love it!

Ellianne Tue 30-Jul-19 18:27:16

To me that's unkind, but maybe they had a bad experience in the past and it saves giving an explanation.

EllanVannin Tue 30-Jul-19 18:28:00

No, I wouldn't be advertising the fact. Nobody in a wheelchair is labelled so why those who are autistic ? I think it's terrible to be honest.

I'm not a fan of labelling anyway, be it LBGT ? or any other personal affinity. Some things are best kept to ones-self to avoid conflict.

Sara65 Tue 30-Jul-19 18:29:29

I don’t think I’d want to hang a label on my child, but maybe they had their reasons

MissAdventure Tue 30-Jul-19 18:31:00

I expect the child's mum has had "helpful advice" from strangers whilst out, so wants to let people know in advance, in case of any unusual behaviour.

EllanVannin Tue 30-Jul-19 18:33:27

Think of the number of schizophrenics who've been released into society, they're not labelled and if they miss/don't take their medication can be dangerous.

GrannyGravy13 Tue 30-Jul-19 18:37:07

I have seen signs in cars along the lines of “In case of accident my child is Autistic”.

Having a GC “on the spectrum” I can see why this could be a useful “tool”, as you cannot tell the degree of Autism by looking at a child.

If they were to be separated it could be an aid to staff trying to find his Mum/Carer, as his behaviour could be unpredictable and he could be nonverbal.

Sara65 Tue 30-Jul-19 18:37:21

I know there are occasions when an autistic child can be very challenging, but I don’t really think it needs advertising.

Grammaretto Tue 30-Jul-19 18:43:28

This reminds me of when I was on a bus and 2 young women with buggies, were chatting while their charges were shouting at each other - and being ignored.. After a while I dared to suggest that they turned the buggies so that the toddlers could not see each other and were facing the mothers/carers instead, but one woman turned on me and in shocked tone said "Cant you see they are autistic!"

Well no I couldn't and neither did I think that was an excuse for not engaging with a small child.

I think the label idea very strange.

Calendargirl Tue 30-Jul-19 18:44:08

Have seen where an autistic little boy was wearing a tee shirt saying I am autistic, please be patient with me. His mum felt it was helpful.

notanan2 Tue 30-Jul-19 18:44:53

No, I wouldn't be advertising the fact. Nobody in a wheelchair is labelled so why those who are autistic

Maybe that is the point? People with hidden disabilities get treated in ways you wouldnt dream of treating someone with a visable disability!

midgey Tue 30-Jul-19 18:45:19

Perhaps the poor woman has had so much ‘helpful advice’ she just wants to stop people in their tracks!

Mossfarr Tue 30-Jul-19 18:55:10

It seems unpleasant, labelling a child in this way but it could have avoided a nasty situation I witnessed recently when shopping.

A young, very heavily pregnant woman, was shopping with her Mum. She was being followed around the store by a teenaged girl who would just stand still and stare at her.
The young mum became very embarrassed so the Mum turned round to the teenager and told her not to stare as it was very bad mannered.

Well, all hell broke loose, the teenager burst into tears and started screeching her head off. A very large lady raced around the aisle and started ranting that they were out of order and that her life was difficult enough without people being so unreasonable.

It turned out that the teenager was autistic - but how could they possibly have known that?

The poor Mum and her daughter were really upset and shaken by it all.

Whilst I can see both sides of the story my sympathies were with the Mum and her pregnant daughter. If the teenager had been wearing something to raise awareness of her disability the whole nasty situation could have been avoided.

notanan2 Tue 30-Jul-19 19:02:09

It seems unpleasant

Yes but I agree that the alternatives may be more unpleasant for the child.

E.g. I know a lady who married a very tall man from a very tall family. They had a very tall baby. She got lots of nasty comments (sometimes directed straight at the child) about the baby "still" using a buggy "at her age.

These strangers did not know the childs age. She just happened to look at least a year older than she was. And so many people were nasty about it without stopping to ask or consider. I witnessed it myself.

People can by horrible to "atypical" kids! Right to the kids!

Callistemon Tue 30-Jul-19 19:04:44

If the little boy is unable to cope with something when they were out and got agitated or very upset then perhaps people have passed comments in the past about 'what a naughty boy', even 'he needs a smack' etc - which passers-by are known to mutter.
Realising the child is autistic could help them to realise that he is not just being badly behaved, he is unable to cope with a certain situation so they may not be so quick to judge.

Susan56 Tue 30-Jul-19 19:14:01

I feel uncomfortable at a child wearing such a label.
However,I can see from the mothers point of view it may be useful and if it helps her then that can only be a good thing.
My 30 year old daughter has an ‘invisible’ disability.She outwardly looks a picture of health even though struggles on a daily basis.She has had abuse several times while using her blue badge.It is really upsetting to think wearing a label is the only way for people not to be judged and abused on illnesses and disabilities that aren’t clearly visible to other people.

lemongrove Tue 30-Jul-19 19:16:24

Having an autistic DGS I think that every parent has to do what they feel is the right thing.
How old was the child? There were times when out shopping when he was young ( up to age 5) when I had to watch him like a hawk as he had a ‘running off’ habit, and perhaps a ‘label’ may have helped staff.
No, you can't always tell when a child has a disability, my
DGS is very good looking and acts normally when out and about.
You couldn’t hang lanyards around teenagers though ( they would be embarrassed/take them off etc.

Fennel Tue 30-Jul-19 19:28:16

lemon I agree.
Autism isn't a blanket term. Some children with a diagnosis of autism are placid and harmless.
At the other extreme they're unpredictable and can be dangerous.
Maybe for that kindof child instead of a label of "autistic" it should say " treat me gently" , or something like that that.

sodapop Tue 30-Jul-19 19:34:27

Yes until we have walked in this Mum's shoes we shouldn't judge. There must be difficult situations she has had to deal with. I was not keen on the idea initially but having given it some thought I can see the advantages. As the child gets older he will make up his own mind.

EllanVannin Tue 30-Jul-19 19:40:07

If these children are medicated, they don't need labelling as they are unlikely to suffer melt-downs anyway.

notanan2 Tue 30-Jul-19 19:44:45

If these children are medicated, they don't need labelling as they are unlikely to suffer melt-downs anyway.


If the people who are nasty to people with disabilities were sedated into silence, THAT would solve the "problem" just as well and more appropriately hmm

lemongrove Tue 30-Jul-19 19:46:24

Young children are not given medication EV
Even with medication to help, older children still do have melt downs now and then.