Jul 10, 2008

Is Your ADHD/LD Child a Quirky Kid?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines quirky as: A peculiarity of behavior; an idiosyncrasy. I suppose, going by society's definition of "normal," that would describe my ADHD/LD son. He's definitely been known to exhibit peculiar behavior at times.

I think the majority of us have preconceived ideas when we have children. If you have a boy then you expect him to like sports, frogs, and dirt.... all things boy. If, however, you have a girl, you expect her to like all things pink, Barbie and frills........ all things girl. I will admit, I thought exactly the same way when I had my son in 1997.

His clothes were all blue with some type of sports motif. We bought him baby baseball, basketball and footballs. My husband looked forward to the day he could watch "the game," "the match," or "the tournament" with him. Our son, however, had other plans.

He isn't interested in anything that society sees as being "boyish." After much encouraging from us, he's tried baseball, soccer and basketball. During baseball season he learned exactly where to sit in the outfield to pick dandelions. During soccer season he was always the one who volunteered to "sit out" because there were so many players on the team. Finally, during basketball season, he could tell you exactly how many lights were hanging from the gym ceiling and not what the score was.

We finally realized that our son is his very own, very unique (and quirky) person. Once we came to this realization and accepted him for who he is, we were all much happier. We now celebrate his uniqueness. He is interested in water fountains, singing and technology. To encourage these interests we:

  • Buy and check out books about water fountains. He has even constructed water fountains for us and both sets of his grandparents.
  • Enrolled him in our church and school choirs. He also auditioned for, and made, our local college children's choir. We also designated a spare bedroom in our home as his "studio."
  • Give him first dibs on any and all broken or unused electrical items. He enjoys taking them apart and seeing how they work. Sometimes he even fixes them!

We have embraced our son's quirkiness. We're so proud of him for having the courage to go against the flow instead of with it. He is a happy child and likes who he is..... and we do too.

If you have been blessed with your own quirky child, embrace his differences. Provide ways to explore and develop his interests. Build his self esteem. And, possibly most importantly, don't ever be ashamed or apologetic for your ADHD/LD child's uniqueness. If he likes to count dandelions on the baseball field, sit down and count with him. Then, take them home and display them proudly!

**Side note: I have read Quirky Kids, by Perri Klass and Eileen Costello. It covers various topics including self-esteem issues, social issues and acceptance. It's a must read if you have your own, very special quirky kid.

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