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Life Is Not A Label--Lesson Plans

Life is Not a Label is a class about disability awareness and the HOPE that comes from transforming what our labels mean to us.

Jared Stewart

on 5 November 2018

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Transcript of Life Is Not A Label--Lesson Plans

He told me I was ill.
What an odd word.
People who are ill get to lie in bed,
Sipping soup and resting.
I have to get up and pretend everything is normal.
He told me it was the illness.
"It's the illness" He said,
That makes me think the way I do,
That causes my brain to see the world differently,
That makes me stand out from everyone around me.
Is it the illness that makes me want to sleep the years away,
When it is the illness itself that keeps me from sleep?
That makes it hard to concentrate,
And causes me to explode at the little things,
And makes me so afraid and lonely?
When I say “I am ill”—is that truly all I am?
And is it the illness
that makes me so sick of myself ?

Part 1: Labels and Labeling
Poems and Quotes
Diagnostic Labels
The most widely accepted definition used in DSM-5 describes mental disorders as:
behavioral, emotional, or thought dysfunctions that are
unexpected in their cultural context and
associated with personal distress,
increased risk of suffering,
or substantial impairment in functioning.
What is a “Disorder”?
A Layman’s Look at the DSM 5
Diagnostic Labels
1. Facilitates communication (verbal shorthand)
2. Ensures comparability among identified patients
3. Promotes research on diagnostic features, causes, & treatment
4. Cornerstone of clinical care
5. Qualification for assistance (insurance, government, etc)
Diagnosis: Positive Aspects
The disorders listed in the DSM-V represent only the disorders that occur in mainstream American culture rather than a universal list of disorders to which all humans are susceptible

We cannot define abnormality without reference to the norms of some particular culture to define “normal”
Normal and Abnormal
Boundaries between disorders are often fuzzy
Gender and culture bias in application of diagnostic labels
Negative effects of labeling on other’s perceptions
Negative effects of labeling on self-concept
Arbitrary symptom cut-offs in diagnosing disorder
Reliability doesn’t necessarily lead to validity
Subjective judgments lower reliability
Self-fulfilling prophesy/Circular use of label
Distorting diagnoses to get insurance coverage
Label viewed as immutable
Redundancy of diagnoses
Inconsistency in the definition of the label
Political and economic exploitation
Categorical rather than Dimensional
Label can't predict outcomes or identify origins
Diagnosis: Negative Aspects
Diagnostic labels come from the DSM-5
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition

Book of symptom lists used by therapists to define “mental disorders”
Where do they come from?
Part of the DSM 4; now supposed to be noted along with other diagnoses as a part of DSM 5, but not explicit.
Axis 1 = Mental Illnesses (including developmental disorders and learning disabilities)
Axis 2 = Personality Disorders and Mental Retardation
Axis 3 = Medical Conditions (Physical Illness and Injury)
Axis 4 = Environmental Stressors (what has been going on in their life recently?)
Axis 5 = Global Assessment of Functioning
(what are they like when they are healthy?)
5 Axes of Diagnosis:
Life is Not a Label
Achieving Transformative Transcendence
Following the labeling event, individuals (and their parents) struggled with two main issues: (a) to understand exactly what having this label meant in terms of strengths and challenges, and (b) to resolve confusion as to what kind of help and accommodations would be needed.
“OK, so I have ________; that means that ____________ will be challenging for me and I will need to do ___________ to cope with it.”
Stage 3: Understanding/Negotiating the Label
All participants described a time when, although the problem had not yet been pinpointed, they were aware of being different from others.
“I think something is wrong…”
Stage 1: Awareness of a Difference
The most successful individuals reached a final stage of acceptance of their label in which they came to see the disability as a positive force in their lives—one they were actually glad to have had to deal with.
“I am thankful that I have had to deal with ________________, because my life is now better for it!”
Stage 5: Transformation
Once the extent and nature of the disability was clear, the next step successful individuals took was to place the disability in perspective relative to their other attributes, that is, to minimize its importance. In brief, the task of this stage is to minimize weaknesses and maximize strengths—realizing that any label is only one small part of a person’s identity.
“This is a part of me; but it is definitely NOT all of me…”
Stage 4: Compartmentalization
After being officially “labeled,” individuals needed to not only identify which labels actually reflected their difficulties, but also to settle on their own terms to describe them.
“What you have is ____________, which is defined as____________”
Stage 2: The Labeling Event
Learning Disabilities
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder(s) (ASD)
Dangers of Labeling:
The Rosenhan Experiment
Anxiety --The Label of Debilitating Fear
Depression: The Label of Debilitating Despair
Transformation: Stories of Success!
The Stanford Prison Experiment
More Dangers of Labeling:
Self-fulfilling Labels (Circular Bias)
Reliability Vs. Validity (Subjective Bias)
Final Projects--"What My Labels Mean to Me"
Disclosure and Self Advocacy
Celebrity Names
The 5 Stages of Dealing with a Label:
Currently, or by history, must meet criteria A, B, C, and D:
Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across contexts, not accounted for by general developmental delays, and manifest by all 3 of the following:
1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity
2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction
3. Deficits in developing and maintaining relationships

Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities as manifested by at least two of the following:
1. Stereotyped or repetitive speech, motor movements, or use of objects
2. Excessive adherence to routines, ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior, or excessive resistance to change
3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus
4. Hyper-or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of environment;

C. Symptoms must be present in early childhood
(but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities)
D. Symptoms together limit and impair everyday functioning.
A brief review:
Diagnostic Criteria
Amanda Baggs
I am not an empty shell. Nobody is.
The lights are on. Yes I am home. You are just not looking through the right windows.
Keep trying.
Nobody kidnapped me. I am right here. As are all of us.
As we are now, all of us are people and always will be people.
You will call us Kanner's and Asperger's.
You will call us high-functioning and low-functioning.
You will call us regressive and early infantile.
You will call us genetic and poisoned.
You will call us retarded and genius.
You will call us an epidemic.
According to your rules, not the rules of reality.
Throughout, we will remain at the deepest level people.
We will throughout remain who we are meant to be.
We speak with as many kinds of voices as there are autistic people.
We speak with our mouths. With our fingers. With our behavior. With our being.
In ways that may conflict or you may find hard to understand.
But our voices form a chorus, dissonant and harmonious alike.
That is more the voice of autism than anyone else will ever be.
We're here whether you see us or not.
We're real people whether you see us or not.
Our existence, our worth, and our personhood are not dependent on you.
They're not dependent on being rescued.
They're not dependent on being brought back from somewhere we never went in the first place.
They're not dependent on you putting us on your false pedestal as holy fools or inspirations.
They're not dependent on you pretending we're exactly like you in a misplaced effort to make us comfortable.
Our place in the world is not always where you or we intend it to be.
Our place in the world does not always make sense.
Our place in the world exists as we are now.
I am not a puzzle—I am a PERSON.
Don't ever forget that many of us are saying this to you with actions.
Every moment of the day.
Just as loud as we would if we had the words I have now.
Some closing words of power
LD Effects
What Is Known About Learning Disabilities?
Take Advantage of Multiple Intelligences!

Patrick Dempsey:
“I think dyslexia made me who I am today.”
Vince Vaughn

“I’m grateful for my dyslexia because, although I was not a very good student in school, I learned perseverance through overcoming my learning disability.”
“When I was a kid they didn't call it dyslexia. They called it... you know, you were slow, or you were retarded, or whatever. And so, I learned from a guy who was running a program who I met one day and he had written out on a board a sentence. And I said to him, 'You know, I can't read that.' And he said, 'Why not?' And I said, 'Because it doesn't make any sense to me.' So he said, 'Well, write down what you see under each. Whatever you see, write exactly what you see underneath.' And so, he brought me to letters by coordinating what I saw to something called an A, or a B, or a C, or a D, and that was pretty cool... As a kid I learned to tell jokes to get through difficult situations in school. Rely on your strengths and you’ll get through too.”
Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly: actors.

“I discovered I loved Shakespeare, and his style forced me to slow down and really work to understand the writing on the page. I was 18, and yet it was my first real experience with reading—really wanting to read… [still] I had to work three times as hard to get two-thirds of the way.” ~Orlando Bloom
LD is a broad term. There are many different kinds of learning disabilities. Most often they fall into three broad categories:

Reading disabilities (dyslexia)
Written language disabilities (dysgraphia)
Math disabilities (dyscalculia)

Other related categories include disabilities that affect sensory processing, memory, social skills, and executive functions such as beginning a task.
What are the Types of Learning Disabilities?
Neural Misfires in the Learning Process
Some individuals, despite having an average or above average level of intelligence, have real difficulty acquiring basic academic skills. These difficulties might be the result of a learning disability.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law, defines a learning disability as "a condition when a person's achievement is substantially below what one might expect for that person, given their overall ability."
Learning disabilities do not include problems that are primarily the result of sensory, emotional, or intellectual disabilities.
What are Learning Disabilities?
Intro to L.D.
(Learning Disabilities)
Tony Bennett
Mary Tyler Moore
Henry Winkler
Danny Glover
Billy Blanks
John F. Kennedy
Roughly 5-20% of the population of Earth!
Tom Cruise: Oscar-nominated actor.  
“In Kindergarten I couldn’t tell whether letters like c or d curved to the right or to the left. Instead of academics, I got involved in sports and school plays to make friends.”
Tommy Hilfiger: fashion designer.  
"I performed poorly at school, when I attended, that is, and was perceived as stupid because of my dyslexia. I still have trouble reading. I have to concentrate very hard at going left to right, left to right, otherwise my eye just wanders to the bottom of the page." – Tommy Hilfiger  In reference to his being the class clown: "I didn’t want anyone to know that I didn’t get it."
General George Patton
"Young George . . . although he was bright and intelligent and bursting with energy, he was unable to read and write. Patton's wife corrected his spelling, his punctuation, and his grammar."
- Biographer Martin Blumenson
"Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom."
Sylvester Stallone: Actor, Screenwriter, and Director

“I was told by my teachers that my brain was dormant, and I took it to heart. I channeled a tremendous amount of energy to my body. I had to go to a special school for kids with learning and behavior problems… but I learned to never give up.”

Hope for Learning Disabilities--
Bruce Jenner: Olympic Gold Medalist

"I just barely got through school. The problem was a learning disability, at a time when there was nowhere to get help…If I had not been dyslexic, I would not have won the Olympic decathlon games. Dyslexia made me outwork the next guy. But it was a side effect of dyslexia, my self-esteem-my perception of myself, which was my biggest problem of all; bigger than the perceptual problems of dyslexia itself, and if I had not been dyslexic, I wouldn't have needed sports."

"I firmly believe that deep in their soul everyone has a champion that can overcome obstacles and do great things.”
Winston Churchill
Alexander Graham Bell
Ted Turner
Richard Branson
Harrison Ford
Jay Leno
George Bush
Keanu Reeves
Roughly 5% of all people
Surprisingly controversial

Celebrities Who Changed Their Names

“Once we have labeled the things around us, we do not bother to look at them so carefully.”
~ Dr. Jane Goodall
“Once we label people we proceed to sort only for behavior that verifies our label (evidence that proves we were right), and at that point we are no longer interacting and responding to the person. Once you label me you negate me.”
~Soren Kierkegaard

Life Is Not A Label :
Quotes and Poems

Do Not Search For Allison In These Words,
You Will Not Find Her Here:
My skin is kind of sort of brownish
Pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are greyish blueish green,
But I'm told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish blondish brown,
But it's silver when it's wet.
And all the colors I am inside
Have not been invented yet.


Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
Listen to the DON'TS,
Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me-
Anything can happen child,
ANYTHING can be.


I asked the Zebra,
are you black with white stripes?
Or white with black stripes?
And the zebra asked me,
Are you good with bad habits?
Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times?
Or are you quiet with noisy times?
Are you happy with some sad days?
Or are you sad with some happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways?
Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on and on and on he went--
I’ll never ask a zebra about stripes again.

Zebra Stripes

“The Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
~1 Samuel 16:7, Holy Bible, KJV

Choosing King David…

My Diagnostic Labels
Whoopi Goldberg: comedian, actress, and TV personality.
Jennifer Anniston
Significant difference between ability and performance. Apx. 1/10 people. Generally divided into reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), and math (dyscalculia) disabilities.
*10. What do I choose to have this label mean to me?
What is the most positive, empowering, and self-affirming meaning that I can give to this label? How can I use this label to help myself achieve my fullest potential and achieve my dreams and Vision for success?
(This is the most important question. Give it some serious thought!)
11. What will I choose to “do” about my label, (if anything)?
How will taking that action help me in my life now and in the future? What will I gain from acting?
12. Complete this sentence: I am glad/thankful that I have had to face______________

What My Labels Mean to Me Questionnaire

7. What part of the definition of this label, if any, do I think accurately describes me?
(What descriptions and symptoms do I agree with?) Why?
8. What part of the definition of this label, if any, doesn’t really seem to describe me?
(What descriptions and symptoms do I disagree with?) Why?
9. What does this label miss (leave out) about me and my “condition”? (How am I different from others with this label?)
What My Labels Mean to Me Questionnaire

4. What does this label officially mean?
(Copy down the technical definition. You may need to look this up online or at a library, or borrow a copy of the DSM V).
5. What are the weaknesses associated with this label?
What makes this label get described as a “disability”? What’s challenging about being this way? Be honest.
6. What are the strengths associated with this label?
What can people described this way often do well? What’s great about being this way? Be honest and be creative!

What My Labels Mean to Me Questionnaire

Label: ______________________________

1. Are there any other names for this label?  

2. How and when did I get this label, and from whom?  

3. How did I feel about getting this label at the time, and Why did I feel that way?

What My Labels Mean to Me Questionnaire

Make a list of the “labels” you have received from “experts” in your life.
Pick THREE labels that you feel are the most significant (positive, negative, or in between), and write them down here.

If you do not have 3 expert diagnoses,
pick the 3 most influential labels you’ve received in your life
, regardless of who gave them to you.

Pick Your 3 Labels
LINAL Final project

What My Labels Mean to Me
Answer these questions for each of your 3 "labels"...
"What My Labels Mean to Me"
Class Reminders:
Next Monday = No Class! Go get started on your projects! :-)
Don't ignore your Final Project!

Let me know if you ever need any help! :-)

So, what to do? Think long and hard before you decide.
Consider the information and tips we've covered and add to it other consequences you can think of, because you know how people react to you and how you want to handle their reactions so that things work out best for you.
You decide.
Take care of yourself and do what feels right in your heart as well as your head!
The hallmark of a successful disclosure is a positive transformation in the relationship with another person and subsequently, in society as a whole. More successful disclosures will enable the public to construct positive ways of relating to people with your “labels”. This, in turn, will aid in eliminating the stigma that still surrounds people with disabilities.

Interesting Anecdote:

Additional Tips for Disclosure:

Conclusions—To Disclose or Not

Possible negative consequences:
The boss will notice and think you are lying or trying to "put one over" and then assume that you
a) can't function well enough to do the job and, hence, the lie;
b) you are not well-adjusted to your disability and may be difficult to work with;
c) think the boss is too stupid to notice;
d) fill-in-the-blank...bad vibes.
Your protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may be jeopardized—the employer is not required to make any accommodations for a disability he or she is unaware an employee has.
The boss and/or your co-workers will notice that you have trouble with some areas and make incorrect assumptions about your differences.
The boss and/or your co-workers will discover that you have a disability and assume
a) it must be a big problem and that's why you didn't discuss it,
b) it must be shameful,
c) it must be part of deeper-seated problems—maybe you are psychotic or sociopathic and they should be concerned about their safety around you,
d) it must bother you so much that you won't talk about it.
I have a pretty good “mask”. If no one can tell I have a disability, can't I get away with not revealing it and have a better chance of getting and keeping the job?
Possible positive consequences:
Maybe the boss won't notice and will hire you, assuming you have no disability.
Maybe your co-workers won't notice once you're on the job and you won't get caught in an omission of the truth. Can you live with that? Can you maintain the appearance of “normal”?
(What will happen if you are found out? )
I have a pretty good “mask”. If no one can tell I have a disability, can't I get away with not revealing it and have a better chance of getting and keeping the job?
Possible negative consequences:
Some employers definitely do mind being surprised and will wonder what else you've failed to mention or share with them.
Some employers may feel as if you have "sprung" this on them as a warm-up for a lawsuit, if you're not hired.
Some employers may be so distracted by your disability that they don't pay attention to who you are and what you have to offer.
You could end up making another person feel very uncomfortable and out-of-sorts with you.
If I wait until I get to the interview to reveal my disability, will I still get the job?

Possible positive consequences:
Some employers don't mind the surprise and you can allay their concerns, if they have any, in person.
The evidence on your paperwork (application and resume, if you have one) has proven you are qualified and should be interviewed. Now you can demonstrate your competence in person.
There are no preconceived notions of who you are—old, deaf-dumb-blind, other.
If I wait until I get to the interview to reveal my disability, will I still get the job?
Possible negative consequences:
The employer will be intimidated and find an excuse to not interview you—any excuse will do.
The employer will be afraid that you might sue under ADA and will interview you, but plan not to hire you—any excuse will do.
The employer worries about possible difficulties with other staff and/or the price of accommodations and will not interview you
The employer has mistaken ideas about your “label” and will not hire you due to concerns about your ability to produce results and actually do the job.
The employer has had a bad experience with another person with a similar “label” and assumes that you are the same—no interview.
If I tell someone about my disability in advance—whether on the telephone or in a cover letter—will they still consider me for the job or simply make a polite excuse for not interviewing me?
Possible positive consequences:
The employer will think you are comfortable with who you are and well-adjusted to your disability.
The employer will consider you assertive.
The employer believes that a disabled person can do the job and is not off-put by your revelation.
The employer knows competent disabled adults and looks forward to meeting you.
If I tell someone about my disability in advance—whether on the telephone or in a cover letter—will they still consider me for the job or simply make a polite excuse for not interviewing me?
To disclose or not to disclose?

This is a question every person with a disability eventually asks.
Should I tell someone (in a relationship, in advance of an interview, in a school or work setting) that I have a disability?

There is no easy answer. There is no right or wrong answer. It is a matter of personal preference. In other words, only you can decide!

However, to help you make an informed decision, the following tips and possible consequences are provided as "food for thought."
(And If to Disclose, Your Disability)

Deciding When To Disclose



David Neeleman

Terry Bradshaw

Robin Williams

Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan

Justin Timberlake

Simone Biles

Symptoms of Inattention
1. Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
2. Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
4. Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
5. Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
6. Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
7. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities
8. Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
9. Is often forgetful in daily activities
Symptoms of Hyperactivity
1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
2. Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
3. Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
4. Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
5. Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
6. Often talks excessively
Symptoms of Impulsivity
1. Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
2. Often has difficulty awaiting turn
3. Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)
“AD/HD is a lifespan condition that affects children, adolescents, and adults of all ages.”

What is ADHD?

Planned distractions
(gum, doodling, fidgets, etc)
Mindfulness Techniques
(breathing, focus, etc)
Organization Aids
(graphic organizers, etc)
(this is critical for 99% of individuals with ADHD!)
Direct Systems Training
for memory, procrastination, behaviors, prioritization, staying on-task, and other problem solving needs

ADHD Help:

Over 10% of Major League
Baseball Players have ADHD!

Glenn Beck

Walt Disney

Jim Carrey

Larry H. Miller

Will Smith

Michelle Rodriguez

Paul Orfalea

ADHD Strengths

Sense of Humor
Musical ability
Artistic ability
Incentive driven

Great imagination
Creative (ie. Stress relief)
Leadership Abilities
Risk taker
Hyperactivity (Productive)
Impulsivity (closure/deadlines)
Exciting Presenters
Difficulty paying attention in the right amounts
Paying attention to the "wrong" things
Not listening, talking over others
Distracted easily
Impulsive, often risky decisions
Restless, fidgety
Act impulsive, interrupt, talk a lot
Attendance poor, lots of tardies
Poor follow-through
Poor organization
Often loses things
Jumps from job to job,
Goal to goal, and
Relationship to relationship

ADHD -- How does it look?

"The only reason I knew [that I had dyslexia] was because I went to get a prescription for glasses... they put a computer on my eyes, showing where my eyes went when I read. My eyes would jump four words and go back two words... My learning disability had hurt me a lot. I thought I wasn't smart. I just couldn't retain anything, but now I had this great discovery. I felt like all of my childhood trauma-dies, tragedies, dramas were explained."
"I want to write and direct, but it's not easy with ADD. I have a hard time focusing...
I'm a bit of a scatterbrain, but I'm also very energetic, passionate, creative, and social.”
“I have OCD mixed with ADD, you try living with that! [But] I think for a performer, because that’s really what we all are, I think that anytime the nervousness comes in, the focus jumps in as well and it overbears it in a
way. It supersedes it. I think you just become uber-focused…
And that’s a strength.”
“I think everybody should have dyslexia and ADHD! Getting bored easily is a great motivator—I’m always looking ahead to new goals. Work with your strengths, not your weaknesses. If you’re not good at reading, focus on something else! Go where you are strong, and don’t take life so seriously—enjoy it!”
Eriksen and Kress (2005)
Diagnoses do not (and can not) capture the uniqueness of a person!
In spite of all these potential drawbacks and disadvantages, we still use diagnostic labels
because without them it would be almost impossible to effectively talk about or treat disabilities
1. How is the Label officially defined?
(DSM definition)
2. What are the challenges and strengths?
3. What can be done?
(treatment options, tips techniques, etc)
4. Who are some of the most successful people who have "transformed" this label?
"Label" Objectives:
Tips for Disclosing Your Disability
Whether it is a close friend or a potential date, a school teacher or a supervisor at work, it is not easy to know how much to say or when to say it. When you do decide to disclose, however, here are some tips:
1. Know what you want to say and what your desired outcome is

• It is hard to explain to others something that you do not understand yourself. It is up to you to educate yourself so that you can educate others. Know your “label” and what it means!

• Know what you hope to accomplish through this disclosure—what outcome are your aiming for?

• Know your strengths. We all have talents and abilities. Know what yours are and feel good about them.

• Know your weaknesses. We all have weaknesses we must work around. Be realistic and know your limitations and challenges.

• Know what accommodations help you to do your best. Others can better accommodate you when you know exactly what to ask for.

• Know what situations to stay away from. There are some situations that no accommodations overcome. Know what they are for you.
2. Be specific and deliberate
• Only tell what is necessary to only those who need to hear it. Be discreet and selective about disclosing; many people are not ready to hear what you have to say.
• Say what you need to succeed, not why you can’t do it. Everybody loves a winner. Nobody loves a whiner.
• Talk about a specific task or activity. People can learn better if you relate it to something they already know and understand.
• Know the Problem, the Cause, and the Solution. Give the complete picture and have the answer on how you can succeed.
• It is sometimes helpful to present the information in both spoken words and in written form. Also, having handouts, articles, or books about the disability and/or needed accommodations can give credibility to what you are saying.
• Determine your own personal privacy boundaries concerning the amount/ type of information you want to share with others.
• Pick a time when you are not rushed and can thoughtfully explain your needs to others.
• Remember to keep the disclosure conversation focused on your abilities and be self-determined and practical. It is also a good idea to practice talking about your disability with someone you trust.
The greatest understanding and cooperation comes from working together with others to find a common solution. Once you choose to disclose, let them help you find a way to work around your weaknesses.
Fake it,
Tips and Considerations for Disclosing in School Settings:

After high school, accommodations are usually provided by the program's disability support service only if you disclose your disability and request accommodations. Some reasons for disclosing your disability in a postsecondary setting include:
• obtaining information about available supports and services;

• discussing academic requirements and practical components of your course of study; and

• ensuring that faculty members implement the reasonable accommodations you require in order for you to be successful in your courses.
“Labeling is a process of creating descriptors to identify persons who differ from the norm. But ‘normal’ is a broad relative term.
Everyone is different in some way from someone else [and]

the scariest thing about these labels is the way we create them and then run around pretending they are not humanly created
…We also pretend that everyone using a label… means the same thing… Labeling is unavoidable, but should always be used with caution” ~Scott Danforth

“It is important to remember that
any label is a tool and must lead to something if it is going to be helpful.
Using a label tells us very little about an individual except the fact that there is a disability. It is often wiser to get to know each person as an individual with strengths, interests, preferences, fears, and frustrations and realize that
“autism” [or any other label] is only one aspect of each individual
. If we can get away from the stigma of labels, perhaps we can begin to see a way to assume ability and competence and allow each individual to live
to expectations rather than allowing the label to dictate potentially lower expectations.” ~Kim Davis

"There are many benefits to ADHD, too many to list. In terms of performance and productivity, I feel ADHD has been a tremendous advantage. It becomes a disadvantage when you’re expected to conform to a structure that doesn’t make sense to you. It’s important for those with ADHD to find a job or career that is genuinely aligned with their interests.

The key is to understand yourself, stop fighting the tide, maximize the extent to which ADHD is an advantage, and minimize the extent to which it holds you back. I accept my ADHD, and I don’t waste time trying to wrestle it into conformity with the outside world."
Peter Carlisle, managing director of Octagon’s Olympic and Sports Action division
Howie Mandel
Nearly 40%
of CEO's have ADHD and/or LD!!!

I’ve had ADHD symptoms for as long as I can remember, but it was only in the last decade that I learned they had a name. It is good to know that those four letters are what I’ve been coping with all these years. I wasn’t an easy child at home or in school. I didn’t earn my high school diploma, but I never felt any less loved by my parents. When you have mental challenges, you feel alone. You’re not.
I won’t tell you that having ADHD or OCD is always a blessing, but both conditions are parts of who I am. They’re reflected in my comedy. While the conditions present challenges, my career and life
have been fruitful and fulfilling.
“If someone told me you could be normal or you could continue to have your ADHD, I would take ADHD.”
"I owe my career to ADHD, but my staff and family can tell when I haven't taken my medication."
"School was always a struggle with ADHD, but I'm a different person in the water."
“Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of; nothing that I'm afraid to let people know.”
Handout: Partial Disclosure Script
Make it,

or Disclose at some level!
Diagnostic Labels can be Good or Bad-- it is all in how we use them-- but they have to be used
We may not get to choose our Diagnostic Labels, but we do get to choose WHAT THEY MEAN TO US!
Full transcript