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Would You Teach a Fish to Climb a Tree? is a unique and fresh look into alternatives to help children who are struggling with ADD, ADHD, OCD, or Autism.
I read this book several months ago and was so inspired that my mind flooded with ideas for blog posts. I have so much I want to share about what I read in the book and what it made me consider.
But I’ve been so swamped with work, I haven’t yet had time to write all the blog posts that are swirling around in my mind.
I want to share about my personal and family experiences with ADD/ADHD and everything I’ve been learning lately about it.
So I will start with the following interview with one of the book’s authors Anne Maxwell.
In her answers, you’ll see a glimpse of her profound insight into the minds of children with ADD, ADHD, OCD and Autism.
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Author Q&A with Anne Maxwell
Why did you write this book?
I have worked for over 20 years as a child and family and play therapist and have known since I first started out in practice how different kids are who have been labeled with ADD, ADHD, OCD and Autism. They have always been among my favorites… sparkling, enthusiastic, eager, brilliant, understated, direct and to the point, definitely different, sometimes odd… the list goes on. And, from my experience with them, I have also known that the more traditional interventions did not work with them. For example, cognitive behavioral approaches… where kids are told to change their thinking so that they can change their behaviors … only seemed to make them appear more wrong and problematic to others as well as to themselves.
They are not “normal.” They are different. Those interventions that work with other kids do not work with them. They learn differently.
We wanted to write a book to open people up to a different way of viewing them and being with them. And, we wanted it to be a practical book… with tools and techniques and processes that actually work and that could be tried out and used immediately.
A different take on kids with autism… what is that?
The reality is that kids with autism have a different level of awareness and pick things up in a totally different manner. Do they communicate, connect with people or even learn the same way other kids do? No, they don’t! So often the conclusion is reached that children who don’t “fit in” need to be taught how to behave so they can learn to function as if they were “normal” and “average” and just like everyone else. The problem is these children are not normal and average. And, by asking them to be normal and average we are doing two things. We are telling them that there is something wrong with them, and, we are asking them to become someone they are not.
What if there’s nothing wrong with the way they communicate, connect or learn? And, taking this further, what would it be like if we taught these kids different ways to learn that actually work for them, rather than using methods that might have worked for us but definitely don’t work for them?
What can be done for children who have a hard time focusing and concentrating?
Oddly enough, what works best with kids who have difficulty concentrating and focusing is actually the opposite of what you would think would work. They are not able to do that. They need a greater degree of sensory input than others do. And, they do well if you allow them to have the input they require. What works best with them is to have several things going on at the same time… for example with homework, instead of telling them they have to finish one subject before beginning the next, many kids do much better when they are allowed to work on several subjects at the same time… with the tv/radio going as well! Sound crazy? Try it!
My colleague Dain Heer says that kids with Add and ADHD are the greatest multi-taskers in the world. If you give them just one thing to do, it can take forever!
What else can be done for kids with ADD and ADHD?
Physical activity for these kids is crucial and makes a huge difference! Whether it’s in the classroom, during recess or after school, it helps them release all their energy and so they can sit calmly for longer periods of time. You want to get their bodies moving even if it’s just walking around the block a few times. They will feel so much better! Trampolines, swimming, horseback riding can work wonders!
Kids with ADD and ADHD do much better when they are able to be outdoors, spend time with animals and run around and play. Their bodies love it. They don’t do so well when they are cooped up in small spaces. They need to be given permission to be on the move!
If there was one thing you wished that parents could take away after reading the book, what would it be?
Ask questions and trust what you know about your child and what works/doesn’t work for him.
Ask lots of questions. And, a question is not a statement; a question is a question. Questions are designed to give you awareness of what actually is. They are not designed to come up with the right/not wrong answer.
For example, if your child is throwing a tantrum and not being himself, you could ask, “Who are you being right now?” Then ask, “And if you were being you, who would you be?” They might yell at you, but they will have the awareness that they are not being themselves and this awareness will make it more difficult to continue the tantrum with the same gusto.
Where to find the book
Would You Teach a Fish to Climb a Tree? is now available on Amazon.com both as a paperback and kindle edition (eBook). It is also available in the Access Consciousness™ bookstore.
About Author, Anne Maxwell:
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! Learn more here: childfamilyplaytherapy.com
About Access Consciousness® Publishing:
Access Consciousness Publishing produces empowering and inspiring books on the creative edge of consciousness. Access Consciousness® is now active in more than 45 countries around the world. For more information on our books and our authors, please visit: accessconsciousnesspublishing.com
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book.
Written by Susan Carraretto, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom
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