Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Quirky Kids

Posted by nliakos on May 28, 2010

by Perri Klass, M.D., and Eileen Costello, M.D. Ballantine, 2003.

I’d like to recommend a book I just discovered: Quirky Kids: Understanding and Helping Your Child Who Doesn’t Fit in–When to Worry and When Not to Worry, by Perri Klass and Eileen Costello.  It focuses on Autism Spectrum disorders including HFA and Aspergers, nonverbal learning disability, ADHD, sensory integration dysfunction and more. Klass and Costello are Boston-area pediatricians and moms.  The book was published back in 2003 by Ballantine, and oh how I wish I had read it back then! It’s really so comprehensive and practical.  I found the section in Chapter 2 on Diagnoses and Labels to be particularly helpful.  It explains clearly how different specialists give different names to (parts of) the same thing.  Another very helpful chapter is Chapter 10, “Mind-Altering Substances: Medications and the Quirky Child”, which lists meds available in 2003 and before, what they may be used for and what to watch out for.  I wish I had a 2010 edition of that chapter!  Finally, the last chapter gave me hope by reminding me that it is a lot easier to be quirky when you grow up: “Despite a great deal of romantic twaddle about the freedom and innocence of childhood, the truth is that many children’s lives are strictly regulated, and no major deviations from the norm are tolerated. A child can’t wake up one morning and decide, That’s it. I’m through forever with math…with riding those damn buses…with pretending I like the great outdoors.  But adults can easily make such arrangements for themselves.”  The book also includes excellent resources and references for each chapter.

Here is the link to the book’s page on; unfortunately, there does not seem to be a second edition.

One Response to “Quirky Kids”

  1. Lisa Kay said

    I appreciated your review of this book and I will definitely be reading it. As a veteran teacher who is now pursuing a post master’s certification in educational therapy, I am always looking for good book recommendations–to educate myself as well as my clients and their families. This book seems to clarify and put into perspective the “grey areas” parents have to contend with when they recognize their child has a learning and/or behavior dysfunction. The pragmatic approach is very important for parents contending with a “quirky” child. That last chapter will be particularly helpful to me as the emotional aspect for both the child and their family is often at the forefront of our work as educational therapists. It is so important to let both the child and parents know that they are not alone and there is not only help for them academically, emotionally and socially, but also a future filled with many possibilities. As important as the research and strategies are, it is just as vital that children with learning differences recognize that some of the “quirkiest” people make the most interesting and accomplished adults, especially when their strengths and interests are cultivated and encouraged. I look forward to referring to your book reviews for future reading material!

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