I wasn't labeled as a kid. My school didn't have a gifted program so the only labels were for those who needed extra help. I really wish I would have gone to another school with a gifted program. I think being challenged in school more growing up would have helped me (maybe) with acting out in high school. I also would have been better prepared for college.
Having two sons who have labels (autistic and speech delayed) gives me conflicting feelings. I have a good friend who HATES labels - and I understand her feelings. Labels can give kids opportunity to put down or make fun of those who may not necessarily be able to stand up for themselves. Bullying is such a major problem in schools today that it breaks my heart that some day a bully could come up to my son(s) and say something to hurt them.
Squirt's speech delay will probably resolve itself and I really do have a lot of hope that some day Moose won't even carry his label of ASD (he's on the mild part of the spectrum). That's what we work toward. However, having the labels has only HELPED my kids thus far.
Moose was first labeled speech delayed until we got his official autism diagnosis. Those labels enabled us to get our son help. I know that it's scary to hear that something is "wrong" with your precious baby. I do; it was hard for me. I also knew that if I didn't get my son help, things wouldn't improve for him. Sometimes, parents, we have to suck up our emotions (and our pride!!!!) to get our kids help.
Therapy: speech, occupational, physical, etc. They are not hand outs, they are not pity parties with adults who feel sorry for our kids. They are professionals who love your children and want them to reach their full potential. I have had many conversations with educators who tell me that my family is a breath of fresh air simply because we have gotten our sons help. Really? That makes me so sad for those kids whose parents aren't helping their children. Don't they understand that the younger they are, the easier it will be?! And it's not easy but I can't imagine waiting to enroll Moose into speech therapy for 3-4 years when those habits he has will be more ingrained. It's hard enough now! But it's like letting a kid have a pacifier until he's 7 - he'll be so attached to it by then that you'll have wished you'd taken it from him at 2 or 3 or even 4.
While my goal is for my kids to not have labels when they are older (don't have a distinct age for that goal yet), for now, those labels enable my children to reach for their entire potential. It enables my kids to have help from professionals for things that I can't necessarily do on my own.
If it helps my kids, label them.