RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - If you walk around Richmond, you may see the words ‘Don’t Label Kids’ pressure washed onto some sidewalks.
“We thought it was just a neat idea, let’s clean the sidewalks, lets do something good for the city while at the same time educating people on the importance of no labels," said Medarva CEO Bruce Kupper.
It’s called ‘clean graffiti,’ because it’s pressure washed and not permanent.
Medarva, the company that started the campaign, screens children for vision and hearing.
“We find that too many children are being labeled as ‘spacey,’ ‘slow learners,' even ADHD," said Kupper. “When in reality, there may be some medical issues behind their problems.”
The company is making an effort to stop kids from being labeled negatively with the ‘Don’t Label Kids’ graffiti tag.
“I think we got into a society where it’s easier to label the child than it is to find the root cause of what’s going on,” said Kupper.
“It can be very frustrating when you can’t communicate and that can come out and look like behavior problems and special needs, when really all they need is a hearing test and tubes in their ears," said Kathleen Eastman, Director of Child and Family Development at YWCA, who partners with Medarva.
Organizations like Medarva want to change that perception with free vision and hearing programs for preschools and elementary schools.
“We’ve had parents who thought their children were clumsy, but after a screen program we discovered they needed glasses and suddenly they were no longer clumsy,” said Kupper.
“When you solve problems early and you don’t have long term consequences," said Eastman.
Schools like YWCA believe all children have a future, and labeling them terms, such as ‘ADHD,’ ‘slow’ or worse, doesn’t change that.
“Our goal is to try to educate parents, teachers and grandparents. Don’t let your child be labelled. Find an underlying reason for what’s going on with your child’s health," said Kupper.
“Putting a label on someone isn’t the answer, but getting them the help and support they need to reach their maximum potential is," said Eastman.