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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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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.”
–T. BERRY BRAZELTON, M.D.
“A WISE AND PROFOUNDLY COMFORTING 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)
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Top Customer Reviews
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. First, I was glad to see the authors devote so much time to the etiology of these disorders, and I was EXTREMELY glad to see them debunk several of the popular myths floating around (e.g., the MMR vaccine) regarding the causes of autism. I also found the section on common medications prescribed and their side effects to be very helpful; parents need full knowledge of the possible benefits and negative consequences of the medications that health professionals can sometimes be too eager to prescribe.
The aspect of the book I found most helpful, however, was the authors' calm reassurance regarding children who fall under the diagnoses covered by the book. The title itself captures this feeling of reassurance: These children are "quirky," and as the authors stress repeatedly, these diagnoses are fairly new. As recently as 10 or 20 years ago, these children would not have received a diagnosis at all. This has important implications, and perhaps the authors could have pointed out more explicitly the Catch-22 that parents of quirky kids face today: Early intervention helps, but receiving such intervention entails attaching a diagnostic label to your child that could stigmatize him or her and last a lifetime. Perhaps the greatest service this book provides is to walk parents through the maze of evaluation and diagnosis and subsequent therapies so that parents know better what they are getting themselves and their families into.
This book raises a broader philosophical question: To what extent are we becoming a country obsessed with perfection and intolerant of any sort of deviation from the norm? When quirky kids who are, for the most part, functional and happy are given a diagnosis and thrown into therapy to get them to play and talk like other children, are we at risk of losing or devaluing some of the incredible diversity of human behavior that makes life interesting? I sometimes wonder. I know that my son has always been and is now one of the happiest children I have ever seen. He has an enthusiasm for life that brings smiles to the faces of everybody who sees him. Quite frankly, it bothers us--his parents--that he has few friends more than it does him. The admirable quality of "Quirky Kids" is that the authors help us to cherish the differences in our children and remind us that the most important thing, in the long run, is to help them enjoy their childhood and to let them be a kid first, and quirky second.
There were two things that I did find appealing about the book. The first being that it followed the child from young quirky toddler through adolesence and into adulthood. I will keep this book as a reference source just for that reason.
The second thing I liked about the book was that it was continually reassuring that eventually these quirky kids find their niche. That is something that any parent wants for their child - a place to fit in.
Overall, I think that there are other books on the market that might address varying types of ASD better than this book. However, with the exception of this book, I have yet to find one that deals with the age progression of these children. For that reason alone, I would recommend it.