Originally Posted by pickle18
I've acquired a great many labels in my lifetime that have been useful to me, in terms of seeking appropriate help. But I'm also sensitive to the ramifications they can have for a child's identity and development, as well as how he is perceived within a school system or other community, etc. This is also likely colored by seeing up close the polar opposite of what you are suggesting - a zealous approach to apply labels to a child that don't exactly fit, that are used to "explain away" behaviors that merit a closer look, and which have generally caused more harm than good to his identity. All of these things lead me to being cautious, and making sure the shoe fits - if it does, then the benefits may absolutely outweigh the risks, and I do believe parenting counts in terms of how the child processes the label.
There's really no way to know if the shoe fits or not without bringing in experts. The only alternative is to attempt to diagnosis your own child based on what you read on the internet. A lot of parents do that, but I really don't recommend it.
Baltmon did a great job explaining how labels have worked out for her child. My real point is that it isn't wise to let fear of a label stop you from getting the best information and help for your child that is available. The goal is to be better able to understand your child so you can better meet his needs. For us, the other information that came out of the evaluations have been more helpful than the labels.
I also feel there is no risk with a diagnosis of sensory issues for a young child because no body ever has to know that diagnosis unless you tell them. As far as schools go, in most states, a dx of SPD does not qualify the child for any accommodations under a 504 plan unless it is co-morbid with another condition -- such as autism. So, there's no reason to tell the school unless you want to tell a specific teacher to help them understand your child better.
I've helped my DD make peace with some VERY heavy labels, far bigger than the little things you and the other posters are talking about. She is comfortable with who she is, but understanding that she is on the autism spectrum has been an important part of making peace with herself. If a child is bright, they will figure out they are different. Being open and honest and getting them appropriate support (including in my DD's case, a talk therapist to discuss how she felt about her diagnosis) is part of accepting the whole package of who they are.
If you can really keep it a secret their whole childhood without them labeling themselves as stupid, weird, lazy, etc., there really must not be anything very significant going on. The topic of how to help a child make peace with being atypical in some way is a big one, but really truly deeply NOT a reason to refuse to get a small scared child real help.