GUEST BLOG POST & BOOK GIVEAWAY: A Different Take on Kids with ADD, ADHD, OCD & Autism by Anne Maxwell, LCSW, RPT-S, author, Would You Teach a Fish to Climb a Tree?
Has your child been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, OCD and/or Autism? Were you told that it was a disability? Do you wish that your child could simply be “normal” and yet at the same time, do you love him utterly for who he is? Do you wish he could just fit in so that his life would be easier for him and for everyone around him?
What if there is nothing wrong with kids who have been given these diagnoses? What if they are simply different? Guess what? They are! They think differently, they communicate differently, they learn differently, many of them look a little different … they are different. They have a different way of looking at the world. And, what if different is different, not wrong, not right … just different? What if they could be seen as who they are, not as who they’re not? What could that change?
We need to see things the way they see rather than try to get them to see things our way.
When children are labeled as having a “disability,” they are made to feel wrong and inadequate. Many of their parents are made to feel the same way. There is a lot of time and effort spent by school systems and medical and other professions, trying to teach the kids how to behave so that they can fit in and be “normal.” From my 20 plus years experience as a child and family and play therapist, I can say that those attempts usually fail, and, if they succeed, the success is extremely limited and comes at a high price, because the kids are being asked to become who they are not.
What if we could find out how they learn rather than try to teach them using methods that might have worked for us, but definitely don’t work for them? What could that create in their lives … and, in ours?
A principle of my practice is that behavior is a form of communication. And, another principle is that people do the best they can with the information and the tools available to them at the time.
So, for starters, what if you could give your child … and, you … the benefit of the doubt? What if you could acknowledge that both your child and you are doing the best you can? And, what if instead of judging you and your child, you could acknowledge that neither of you has had adequate tools to cope? In other words, stop judging your child and stop judging you!
Next, instead of buying into any labels these children have been given, what if we could ask questions? And, in this context, a question is not a statement with a question mark at the end of it. A question is a question. Here are some questions:
· What is this child saying when she rocks back and forth, when she is being “disrespectful” of the teacher, when she becomes instantly bored, when she can’t focus and concentrate no matter what anyone says or does or how hard she tries?
· What do I know about my child? And, what else do I know? And, what else … and what else?
· What does my child require in order to thrive in school? If she could design her school experience this year, what would it be?
· What does my child know that I’m not asking about or acknowledging?
You may notice that these questions bypass your logical thinking mind. Actually, they go directly to the energy of whatever it is that is causing your child and/or you to be stuck. They are designed to create awareness of what is actually going on, and, many times, they don’t require a verbal response. When you are not looking for a right answer, you’d be amazed at the different choices and possibilities that emerge.
And, you can ask your child questions:
· What do you so dislike about ____?
· What do you know about your teacher? And, what else?
· Is there another way you could be with this?
These questions will give you great information about your child and what’s required in order for your child to thrive. And, you will receive the information in many more ways than cognitively and verbally … you may have a “sense” about something, or an idea will come to you that you haven’t had before, or …Trust the awareness you do receive, and, keep asking questions! What else is possible? What other questions could I ask?
And, enjoy the journey!
Anne Maxwell, LCSW, RPT-S, is a child and play and family therapist, and an Access Consciousness® facilitator with over 20 years of experience working with children of all ages and backgrounds, who have been given all kinds of diagnoses. Anne teaches children and parents to tap into and recognize their own abilities and knowing, and to acknowledge that different is simply different; not right, not wrong. As a result, healing and change are so much easier, more effective, more fun and faster! Anne co-authored Would You Teach a Fish to Climb a Tree? A Different Take on ADD, ADHD, OCD and Autism, with Gary Douglas and Dr. Dain Heer. She also wrote The Keys to the Magic – A Play Therapist’s Handbook of Family Centered Play Therapy. Visit www.accessconsciousness.com and www.childfamilyplaytherapy.com.
BOOK GIVEAWAY: MOTHERHOOD LATER IS GIVING AWAY TWO COPIES OF WOULD YOU TEACH A FISH TO CLIMB A TREE? IF YOU’D LIKE TO ENTER, PLEASE EMAIL ROBIN@MOTHERHOODLATER.COM, PUT FISH BOOK IN THE SUBJECT LINE, AND INCLUDE YOUR FULL NAME AND FULL MAILING ADDRESS IN YOUR EMAIL. TELL US WHY YOU’D LIKE TO WIN A COPY OF THE BOOK. PLEASE ONLY ENTER ONCE. THE GIVEAWAY IS ONLY FOR U.S. CITIZENS. WINNER WILL BE NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. WE ARE NOT ABLE TO RESPOND TO ALL WHO ENTER.