As the organizer of two homeschooling Meetup support groups, I have learned that families choose to homeschool for many different reasons. However, I have found that I often hear from young families of children soon to be school age, that the reason they are choosing to homeschool is because they feel their child just wouldn't fit in at a traditional school. Whether it was due to their child being highly energetic, or easily distracted unless doing something they loved, or highly sensitive and intense, or having unusual interests or a quirky personality that other kids just didn't seem to get, they thought these things would cause problems for their child, they were also worried that their child's uniqueness or unique behaviors would be mislabeled as some sort of behavioral, learning or psychological disorder. They didn't want their child to be labeled, or have to fight to make sure that didn't happen.
As the mother of an awesomely "out of the box" child myself, I understood their concerns. My daughter was once mislabeled by well meaning, yet misguided, family members and medical professionals. They saw my daughter's uniqueness or "misbehaviors" as indications of a behavioral problem or other disorder. I didn't agree. Knowing my daughter best, and after diligent personal study, I found that her behaviors were due to her inherently unique makeup; a highly visual learning style, high emotional and sensory sensitivities, and a highly creative and divergent mind. When these things were understood, correctly utilized and supported, they were no longer negatives. It became apparent to me that many of children’s "negative behaviors" are reflective of unmet needs, misunderstood or misdirected positives, or the child's naturally inherent modality, communication and learning style (things that educational and medical professionals are rarely trained to identify) not being supported. When each child's strengths, along with emotional and sensory sensitivities, intensities and other unique traits are identified, understood and supported they are then able to move forward to reach their full potential.
These days, many educational and medical professionals are quick to put a label on a child's behaviors. I am all for labels when the label indicates special needs, or a need for special support and accommodation for the child to develop optimally. I am not for negative labels, or mislabels, of a child's normal inherent characteristics that with proper identification, understanding and utilization can actually be turned into positives. Of course, if after implementing new parenting and teaching strategies, sensory aids, and other proactive approaches the child is still struggling, consultation with a medical professional should be considered. The following lists normal inherent characteristics found in children that are often mislabeled or misdiagnosed as disorder, however, with the right understanding and support can be turned into motivating and self esteem building positives.
Emotional Sensitivity or Intensity
High Sensory Perception Divergent Thinking
Argumentative, non-compliant, ridgid views, wants to do things their own way, frustration, social isolation from peers, ODD, ADHD
Out of the box, out of sinc, daydreamer, underachiever, distracted, non-compliant, inattentive, self absorbed, obsessive, "moral deficit," ADHD, ADD, ODD
"Too sensitive," reactive, drama queen, melodramatic, cry baby