Independence- Requirements for the quirky kid


Former desparate mom
Transform Triumphant recommended a book to me that really struck a chord.
It is called : Quirky Kids:Understanding and Helping Your Child Who Doesn't Fit In-When to Worry and When Not To Worry
by Perri Klass MD, and Eileen Costello, M.D.

I, of course went to the chapter on post high school and young adults(which as usual is a bit meager). These words were helpful to me, in trying to see the post high school picture for a parent of a quirky child.
I know that parenting an older difficult child is different but it is hard to anticipate in what way it is different and how to change my goal setting, approach and level of involvement. This chapter broke it down into some quick simple goals to understand and help difficult child work on. .
Hope this strikes you as it has struck me.

" Our main message about adult life, to which we will return again and again in this chapter, is this: On the one hand, adult life poses certain specific challenges-which, for some quirky kids, are especially difficult and, for some few, frankly impossible:

-To live independently and care for yourself

-To hold a job and support yourself

-To maintain the human relationships you need to make you happy.

These are tall orders, and not just for the quirky; they are the stuff of lifetime goals and internal struggles and a great deal of help seeking for many people. However, adult life offers considerably more scope for quirkiness than the rigid everybody-needs-to-be-good-at-everything sociology of childhood. Quirky adults can shape their worlds to fit themselves,choosing niches and platforms and hiding places and stages from an almost infinitely vast array of possibilities. Your job with your quirky child was at times to bend and rearrange his school so that his life fit better on his back. His job as an adult is to choose the work and the home and the social lives that fit him best and in which he functions most happily and most fully.

These are the points identified,by the authors, to living independently.

1.Food: Every quirky adult should know how to prepare a few basic items and most important,know how to buy, store and prepare the things that he really likes to eat and drink regularly. If you know how to scramble an egg, construct your favorite kind of sandwich,make the kind of coffee you most like to drink, and prepare two or three of your favorite easy dinners,your ready for your diploma

2. Money: Make sure your child knows how money is transferred and stored(checks,cash cards,debit cards,credit cards) and make sure she has some sense of relatives sums. In other words,she should understand that spending ten dollars on a whim, or lending it to someone you know only slightly, is different from doing that with a thousand dollars. Explain how different bills are paid--the rent with a check left in the landlord's mailbox, the phone bill on line and so on. If she is going to have access to a credit line--either through credit cards or through a bank account cash reserve--make sure she understands that these debts accumulate interest at a high rate.

3.Medical care: Figure out how your child will get his health insurance. There's no easy answer to this(although anyone with a severe disability of any kind ought to be eligible for any of several programs)but it's not something that can safely be left up to most young adults,since the medical insurance world is a maze of confusing options, and most young adults believe they're immortal

4. Special medical care;Does your child know whom to call if her problems act up? If her medication stops working or starts to produce funny side effects? Be sure she's connected in all the ways she needs to be but shift some of the responsibility for making and keeping appointments to her, if she's ready.

5.Maintenance:Whom do you call when the toilet won't flush or the stove burner won't light or the wall starts to crumble? Well, many of us can remember calling our parents! Be available for consultations, but also make sure your child has a little basic grounding in changing a light bulb or tightening a loose screw.

6. Logistics of Daily life: Opening a bank account,registering to vote,renewing a driver's license---all of these are hard to figure out the first time around. Once again, quirky kids ane the young adults they become often have a harder time figuring out even the things that come naturally to other people. The more you can help them break life down into manageable tasks and then get through those tasks, the easier it will be for them to keep safe, functional, and well connected.

You may not like the way your adult offspring lives. You may be troubled or sad or mildly disgusted. :rolleyes: at the arrangements he makes for himself, at the state of his kitchen or bathroom, or his junk food dependence, or the rag he calls a bathrobe. For the most part keep quiet about these things. Yes, you need to be there as a back up and resource and refuge,and you're certainly entitled to your opinion. But when your child starts to live independently as an adult, give her some space. Stand back a little--harder for parents who know their children often have a more difficult time. But independence is independence. As long as there doesn't seem to be anything unsafe about the situation, you need to let your child make these adult attempts and explorations.

I will type the closing 3 chapters when my fingers rest. I just thought it was a good jumping off point for those of us who wonder when are they ready? What do I close my eyes to?
Hope it was something you can use to get your difficult child's ready to move on.


New Member
Hi Fran:

Sounds like an interesting book. I wish there were more resourses for parents dealing with "quirky" adult kids. Mine sure is say the least. Although I do feel I have taught her alot of what it said, my difficult child doesn't absorb or "keep " the info for future reference. I guess that's why I sit here so worried all the time. If only she would "get it". :rolleyes: :rolleyes: I keep reading that the years between 18 and 30 can be a time of further maturing for the "quirky" ones. God, I hope so. I hope I live to see it.
Thanks for the interesting info.
Blessings, Melissa


Former desparate mom
Melissa, I am thinking of putting a notebook together for difficult child with the above info in it for future reference.(telephone numbers,where to go to vote,etc)
My difficult child has difficulty retaining auditory instructions or words. If he has something concrete, he can follow it. He is good at reading simple,direct step by step instructions.

Maybe you can do something like that for your difficult child to keep with her.


Well-Known Member
I was going to suggest writing it someplace for him. Sounds like a book I may have to read soon.

Glad you are finding a resource to help spell it all out for you. I am sure it is at the very least, comforting.


Former desparate mom
Now if I only can go to the beginning a read all the chapters. :wink: Time is short though.
It really covers Autistic Spectrum Disorders, AS, Non verbal Learning Disability, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Sensory Integration Dysfunction and more.

Love my sons

Active Member
That is really interesting...step by step instructions.
Does'nt that also go along with the strong, linear thinking traits of the AS child?

Fran, I think your idea to put this in a notebook/concrete...along with the answers, is RIGHT ON!
Life skills 101. And trust me when I say I know that the "school of hard knocks" is PAINFUL!!! :laugh:

And granted, we can't change all of their quirckiness but at least this does look at some real adult obstacles/questions and points the finger at a strategy/solution.

Melissa...YOU WILL SURVIVE. We just have to. I am truly beginning to see that a parent who gives up on herself/himself is a parent who has quite possibly, shut the door that was the way of escape. God gave these children to us, right? He's got to know more than I do. Maybe our job is to help ourselves get better at living well and help our children get better at looking for "good" solutions, while still trying to accept all of the weaknesses/mistakes inbetween.
You are strong Melissa.



Former desparate mom
LMS, I seldom cook without a recipe.
I consider a book of "what to do if.... sort of notebook a recipe to surviving life as an independent.
It's a resource and a tool. difficult child still has to decide to use it.


New Member

I don't suppose you would consider using your easy child and then sending me a copy of your little useful items notes would ya? Then I could make my difficult child one if I had a good format to use :laugh:

I'll bet your excellent at doing that sort of thing and I would give it as a gift to my difficult child :laugh: She could keep it in her handy dandy back pack as she calls it.

She loved the Christmas gifes I got her. I was surprised. Even her good friends thought it was pretty cool. Remember I gave her travel items and tennis shoes? /importthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif She still tells me how mush she loved it.

If I had a little note book like you mention, I would have the pages laminated and put some kind of hard cover on it so it remained useable for YEARS.

What a good ideas you have. :laugh:


Love my sons

Active Member
Oh, my mother DID love me.

She ate every last bite of that "homemade" cookie I fixed up for her after she returned home from work one day.
...I thought "homemade" meant you make up the recipe at home. /importthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

Oh, you know I was fun child!


Former desparate mom
Oregon, there isn't any reason why we couldn't share what we put together. I am going to "ponder" this today and maybe send you a copy for you to add your input. I'm sure you have ideas and suggestions that won't even occur to me.

I want to have a hard copy for difficult child but I will send it as a file for difficult child to have on his easy child.
Good idea.
I should be able to put something together while I'm on my R & R vacation today. :wink:


Active Member
Thanks for the book recommendation. I'm going to pick up a copy.

Fran, by sharing your experiences with your difficult child, one of the things that you have really helped me with was to peer down the road a little further than I normally do. My difficult child made one major organizational stride this winter--he started putting his gloves in his pockets of his sweatshirt when he comes home. After he puts them in his pocket he takes off his sweatshirt and drops it whereever he happens to be :rolleyes: but I'm counting all the small stuff these days.

I love your idea of a notebook. I have one with all of difficult child's reports in that I use primarly for me but included are sections in the event of an emergency. I keep his medication status and contact info for doctors up-to-date there plus have title pages of the books that have been helpful to us such as "The Out of Sync Child" and "The Explosive Child". Heaven help us if someone else ever has to step in and do our parenting role but I guess in a way your son is sort of in the same boat in that he's having to take over some of those parenting tasks that you have done for him.


New Member
Cool Fran. I'd be happy to help out. With my state of mind these days tho I don't know how much help I'll Really be :laugh: but I'll see what I can come up with /importthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif



New Member
Fran...this is an exellent idea even for normal young adults.

Guess what...Jamie is getting MARRIED this comming wednesday and I think I may just make him and his bride a what to do list. They are both young.

Yep...Im gaining a daughter...sigh.


Former desparate mom
SRL, part of the reason, I think out loud by typing is because I desparately wanted to know what the future looked like for my difficult child. I ping ponged between euphoria and hopelessness. The truth is in the middle and a little less.
I figure those of you who have kids similar to mine can see how things are evolving and have a better idea.
It is better than I could have hoped for 8yrs ago but not all the way there yet. :wink: Guess mom's never satisfied.
I'm glad you can collect the experiences for future references.

Janet,Jamie is getting married? To who? Why so soon? Yikes.


Active Member
I bet you could publish a book like this. You know, how banks work, how credit cards work, grocery shopping, mailing things, voting, healthcare appointments, car insurance, bills, etc.

Not only do I think "normal" kids growing up would use this, I think it might be handy for immigrants who do not understand how things work in our culture.

I'd love to see things like: Basic Items You Need for the Kitchen, Basic Items You Need for the Bathroom, laundry room, etc.

Even how to do laundry would be helpful.

Such a terrific idea!