A young man's memoir was eye-opening to me, as a parent of a special-needs child.
I just finished reading an interesting book, , by Quinn Bradlee, with Jeff Himmelman. Quinn is a young man with Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome (VCFS), a genetic disorder marked by varying combinations of characteristic facial features, congenital heart disease and vascular problems, cleft palate and/or abnormal speech, and either a learning disability or psychiatric disorder. (Whew! And I thought having a kid with ADHD was tough!) ADHD is, in fact, a common coexisting condition in folks with VCFS, Quinn included.
A Different Life is Quinn’s first-person account of life with VCFS. Quinn takes the “first person” perspective to new heights, writing just as if he is speaking. (That translates, for the faint of heart, as follows: He swears, and mentions--often--how much he’d like to "get laid"!) The result is a rare peek into the beliefs, feelings, and experiences of this young man with differing abilities, who just wants what the rest of us want out of life--work that he enjoys and is good at, and reciprocal relationships with a partner, good friends, and a wider social network. Oh, and, one other thing: Despite his differing abilities, he wants to continue to exceed others' expectations of him as far and as often as possible.
Quinn makes several points in his book that hit home with me as the parent of a child with ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and developmental delays. I’ll write about those in my next several posts.
In the meantime, you might want to check out Quinn’s website, www.friendsofquinn.com, a web community for kids with learning disabilities and their families. It’s a very new site, but one that looks quite promising. I’m especially interested in following the emerging blog written by Sally Quinn, Quinn’s mom.
More about her perspective, as revealed in A Different Life, tomorrow.