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Understanding vs. Labeling. We Couldn’t Agree More!

We were thrilled to read a recent article where, in response to the recent approval by the American Academy of Pediatrics of new guidelines that endorse the diagnosing of ADHD in children as young as four, Dr. Claudia M. Gold highlights the dangers of labeling young children. She shares our view that while there is much we can do to help young kids develop their capacity for empathy, flexible thinking and emotion regulation, a label may in fact keep the focus on managing the behavior, rather than on understanding what the behavior has to tell us and what we can do to help. As we often say, “you don’t need a diagnosis to have a problem, you just need a problem to have a problem”. A diagnosis should not be a requisite for
providing help to kids. Young kids who are struggling with challenging behavior can benefit from an approach that views their difficulties as arising from a delay in the development of crucial thinking skills and helps them learn those skills, without the stigma of a diagnosis.