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Quirky Kids: Understanding and Helping Your Child Who Doesn't Fit In- When to Worry and When Not to Worry Paperback – August 31, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (August 31, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345451430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345451439
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Boston pediatricians Klass and Costello address a growing parenting issue: when to worry and when not, how far to push for diagnosis and/or treatment when a child's "quirkiness" becomes concerning. Broadly defining "quirky" kids as "the ones who do things differently" (they may exhibit skewed development, temperamental extremes or social difficulties), the authors explore such confounding and complex syndromes as anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder, Tourette's syndrome, oppositional defiance disorder, Asperger's syndrome and other problems. Reassuring but frank, Klass and Costello walk parents through the steps of helping a quirky child, beginning with talking to the child's pediatrician, coping with the parents' sense of loss of a perfect child, getting a diagnosis and negotiating the maze of evaluations and evaluators. Parents of quirky kids share many similar dilemmas, such as whom to tell, how to deal with social and peer issues, or how to handle homework. The authors present a thorough discussion of the many therapies and medical treatments available, but also advise parents to keep their own lives in balance as they search for answers, warning that "making your own single quirky child into your life's mission can be dangerous." The book is a good place for parents of quirky kids to start their research, though some may find the title off-putting and a bit quirky itself.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Every parent of a ‘quirky kid’ needs this book.”

–MICHAEL THOMPSON, Ph.D., coauthor of Raising Cain

“A superb, original, hugely needed book . . . The first and the definitive guide to understanding these marvelous kids. Free of jargon, full of facts and wisdom and practical advice.”
–EDWARD M. HALLOWELL, M.D., coauthor of Driven to Distraction

“As I read this wonderful and helpful book, I kept nodding in agreement: ‘Yes, this is right, this is good, very true!’ Parents and pediatricians need this book. A+.”
–CAROL STOCK KRANOWITZ, M.A., author of The Out-of-Sync Child

“Terrific . . . Thoroughly researched . . . An exceptional resource for anyone working to provide the best care for children with special needs.”
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

“Highly recommended . . . Practical, compassionate, and thorough.”
Library Journal (starred review)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Their book is helpful and hopeful while being realistic.
Jo Jameson
There are so many books out there devoted to helping the parents of "special" kids.
There were several aspects of the book I thought were particularly strong.
Monica J. Kern

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 161 people found the following review helpful By Monica J. Kern VINE VOICE on April 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would have loved to have this book two years ago. My son, then just shy of 3, was sweet and rambunctious, but just a little bit off the normal developmental trajectories. He had a phenomenal memory (he could walk into a store in a different state we had visited only once years earlier and remember EXACTLY where the bathroom was...), but he showed little interest in playing with other kids and his speech was delayed. Our worries peaked when another parent at Isaac's gymnastics class turned to us, identified himself as a pediatrician, and asked us what therapies Isaac was receiving because it was "obvious" he was a special needs child. Needless to say, we were more than a little distraught at this off-the-cuff diagnosis and wound up spending the next several months having Isaac undergo various types of evaluation. He ultimately was diagnosed with PDD-NOS and has shown tremendous gains after receiving early intervention and speech therapy.
Looking back over that confusing, scary time, when we feared that something was "wrong" with Isaac but didn't know what, I realize that our fear and uncertainty would have been greatly diminished had I known of and read "Quirky Kids." Indeed, I think this book would be most helpful to those parents who are just starting the journey toward diagnosis and treatment. Parents like myself who have long gone through the evaluation process and have read extensively on these topics, etc. will not find much new in this volume. That did not stop me from reading and enjoying the book, however; I just really wish I had read the book much earlier, as it would have helped me greatly in understanding what was going on with my son.
There were several aspects of the book I thought were particularly strong.
Read more ›
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Carol S. VINE VOICE on July 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of those rare books that deserves more than 5 stars. As the mom of a challenging, hard-to-parent kid, this book was tremendously helpful and comforting. I only wish I'd read it five years ago, when I first started to feel as though my child was "different" and "quirky" but chalked it up to being a first-time mom and worrywart. The book does a great job of explaining different kinds of behavior that quirky kids exhibit; defines and distinguishes between different diagnoses that quirky kids may receive (like Asperger's, attention deficit and sensory integration); talks about real-world problems that arise while parenting a quirky kid; gives practical advice for how to handle troublesome behaviors and situations; offers guidance for getting quirky children the best, most effective education from infancy through the teen years; talks realistically about various therapies; and most of all, provides reassurance and comfort. I especially appreciated the quotes from real parents of quirky kids. If you've ever suspected your kid might be "different," "quirky" or "abnormal", if you've ever wondered whether your kid's troublesome behavior was normal or something more, if you've flirted with the idea of seeking professional help for a child you love, please read this book. You will be better able to distinguish between what may be a significant problem and what's just a stage, and you will find comfort, strength and hope for the journey ahead.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Birches1 on March 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a book for parents of kids whos have, or resemble those who have, any of several closely related disabilities: Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disability - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Sensory Integration Dysfunction. But it's about the kids, not the disorders.
This is NOT the book to provide an in-depth understanding of any one of these diagnostic categories. For that purpose, a book more focused on whichever condition you're concerned about will probably serve you better. For example, my own favorite scholarly resource on Asperger's Syndrome is "Asperger Syndrome" (Guilford Press, 2000), a collection of articles edited by Drs. Klin, Volkmar and Sparrow of Yale.
But what this book does so well is to serve as a wise, perceptive and sympathetic counselor and friend for parents of kids who are in this spectrum. It speaks respectfully and helpfully about the whole range of real-world issues, including schools, helpful and non-so-helpful friends, maintaining your own mental health, balancing the needs of multiple kids when one or more has exceptional needs, genuinely appreciating your kid's strengths and quirks, understanding the heartaches and long-term worries. The authors always seem to "get" that this quirkiness doesn't come in only one flavor, or even in only a few flavors. They address, frankly, realistically and with real understanding and compassion, the fears and worries that parents of these kids are experiencing.
Where so many of the books I've read, and helping professionals with whom we've consulted, seem to illustrate the parable of the six blind men describing the elephant, Drs. Klass and Costello, the authors of "Quirky Kids," seem to see, and appreciate, the whole creature.
I'm REALLY glad I found this book, and I warmly recommend it to parents of quirky kids.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Amara VINE VOICE on February 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As the parent of what this book terms a quirky child, and as a fan of Klass' other works, I read this book eagerly. In many ways I was not disappointed. I liked the strong point of view here---the authors were not afraid to take stands on such issues as how much therapy is really helpful to a child (they believe, as I do, that a child needs some time to just be a child!) and they took a strong stance in favor of vaccines, and had skepticism about diets that some say can "cure" autism related disorders. They were great at putting things in perspective, and saying it was okay to enjoy your child's personality and see their good points, and they were honest about how hard childhood can be for a quirky child---as despite what many think, childhood is a time when a great deal of conformity is expected.
My quibbles with this book involved the same thing as its strong points---a sometimes one-sided point of view. For example, public schools are given weak praise, with statements along the lines of "most kids will have to have at least some time in public schools, and they usually do fairly well" (not an exact quote, but along those lines). Private schools are given much more time and discussion, although it is acknoledged briefly that for many of us, private schools are out of the question financially! Also, we are told it is best if mothers keep working, to keep their identity and have some time away from parenting---all well and good, but what if you have decided to be a stay at home mom and were not working to start with, or what if your job involves working at something that is not terribly rewarding, instead of being a pediatrician or lawyer or the like?
Overall, I would recommend this book, for its positive outlook and solid ideas, but it should not be used alone---as with most books on special needs, they work best as part of much reading, to get many viewpoints.
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