Parents Corner

When Quirky becomes Different


Do you have a child who is different? A quirky kid? He or she does things differently to other children?

When does ‘quirky’ stop being an expression of the individual and an indication that some intervention is required?

Those who could, would. So if children in general are able to draw at the age of four then your four year-old child should be able to draw, even if she isn’t that keen on it. If your 6 year-old child isn’t making friends when other 6 year-olds have fit in nicely and found a group of children he can relate to, then your child is experiencing some limitations in his social and emotional development.

The labels don’t help – lazy, stubborn, aggressive, naughty, bad, stupid, a typical boy/girl, etc, – they get in the way of finding out what is really happening for your child. Is it a medical problem? A physical problem? A neurodevelopmental problem?

I can’t tell you the number of times a parent has spoken in a parenting group about his/her child’s difficulties and the other parents have jumped in with solutions based on what they think the diagnosis could be. Or a well-meaning relative or friend has told a parent that she thinks her child has autism because she knows someone who has autism and they have tantrums just like that. Chances are your mother-in-law, friend, neighbour, or local shopkeeper is not qualified to make that call.

NOTHING beats an assessment by a qualified professional. Start with a trip to your GP and keep asking questions until you are satisfied that your child is getting what they need.

Quirky is absolutely fine, but if your child is limited in one or more areas of development (fine motor, gross motor, social, emotional, intellectual) it can lead to psychological or mental health problems later in childhood or during adolescence, and it’s often much easier to get help when a child is young rather than when the behaviours have become entrenched later.

Article Written + Submitted by

Narelle Smith | Family Practitioner




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