“Quirky” isn’t a compliment.
Kids with ADHD, autism, and other developmental delays that make them appear “odd” to others are often called “quirky.” Many use it innocently, but it is meant to call them out for their differences. I take offense to that. Stop calling my child “quirky!” Calling him “quirky” is further calling him out for being different. It’s further perpetuating that he is his label(s), when he is so much more than that.
I would never say “my child is ADHD” or “my child is autism,” so why would I want to say “my child is quirky?” That simply perpetuates negative stereotypes of these disabilities.
Don’t get me wrong — I am anything but anti-labels. Labels help us know what we’re dealing with, set us on the right treatment path, and open doors to appropriate services. I believe that labels are completely necessary. However, I try not to dwell on my son’s alphabet soup of labels, and I certainly don’t use them to describe him.
My son is…
That is what I need to focus most on as his parent — not his “quirks,” but his qualities. That is how I will raise a confident, successful, happy kid who happens to have ADHD, autism, and LDs.
Focus on your child’s qualities, not their quirks.