Too often parents with special needs get as many labels as their children, and many of these labels are not very flattering at all. These labels are intended to put parents back in their box and to stifle future efforts at advocacy. There has been some recent discussion that in some states it has become common practice to call Child Protective Services to intimidate parents from exercising effective advocacy. One parent recently even told me of death threats and harassing phone calls to warn her off of advocating. Really amazing stuff, when you consider that parents are exercising their legal rights to advocate on behalf of their children; the most natural role for a parent to take.
One of the most pernicious labels that I have seen liberally thrown around is Munchausen by proxy. Essentially the argument goes like this: parent (Mother) has "issues" and invents disabilities to garner attention for herself, and advantages in school for her child that special education can bring. This devastating label can stop even the strongest parent in their tracks. Unfortunately, parents need to prepare for this possibility especially when the presenting concern is not readily apparent in school, so therefore, it must be made-up or worse. Advocacy in this area of the law can be a rough business and parents need to come prepared not only for the labels to be applied to their children but to them as well.