On an airplane a few months ago, I sat behind a Dad and his two young children … a boy aged 6-ish and a girl aged 4-ish. He was sitting on the aisle, grim faced. As people continued to board the plane, the boy, who was seated in between his father and his sister, spoke with his Mom. “Yes, Mom, we’re on the airplane … it hasn’t taken off yet … No Mom, the door is still open! … Ok Mom, I’ll have fun! … Mom, do you want to talk to Daddy? … (The dad stared straight ahead) … Ok Mom, bye Mom I love you too Mom.” As he handed the cell phone back to his dad, he sneaked a peak at him. Dad continued to stare ahead.
He then turned to his sister, who had been silent during the phone call. She began a blow-by-blow narrative of everything she was observing out the window. “Look at that red truck … there are the suitcases … why is that man standing there? Who are all those people? When is the plane...
by Anne Maxwell, LCSW
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
~ Albert Einstein
It has become clear to me, having worked as a psychotherapist for the past 25+ years with children, families and adults of all ages and kinds, that there are particular cultures of thinking or attitude in regard to the way people, and especially kids, should function. Those that don’t function according to the rules and regulations in play around them are labeled with ‘disabilities,’ especially in educational and medical communities.
Autism is one such definition.
I have a different way of viewing people who have been labeled with autism, and, 10 years ago, when I discovered the tools of Access Consciousness®, my practice changed, as did the children and adults I was working with... more ease, longer-lasting change, happier families.
Some questions I was invited to...
“Can you help me? My son needs to be in some therapy, like a therapy group. Can you recommend one for him?”
I was at the bank, and my favorite banker was doing some last-minute paperwork for me, before my move to another state. She knows I have worked as a child and family therapist for years, and, was lamenting the fact that I would be moving my practice out of state.
“How old is he?” I asked.
“What’s up? What’s going on that makes you look for therapy for him?” I asked.
She looked worried and slightly embarrassed.
“He won’t sleep by himself, and I’m exhausted. I stay in his bed until he falls asleep, and usually, when I get up, he wakes up and cries. If he doesn’t wake up then, he wakes up at two in the morning, screaming and crying for me. He’s a mama’s boy and he’s mad at me a lot of the...
What are children saying when they “act out”?
A mom brought her five year old son to see me. He had been getting into trouble at school and was difficult at home. They sat on the sofa … he couldn’t keep his hands off her and she was clearly irritated.
At one point, I asked him: “What do you know?” He sat bolt upright and appeared to stop breathing. His eyes locked into mine. He said: “Mikey (her boyfriend) is going to move in with us, and then he’s going to leave and Mommy’s going to cry.” She burst into tears.
A week later she called to tell me that his “naughty” behaviors had all but disappeared, and, that she had broken up with her boyfriend!
Tool: Ask a question!
The next time your child gets into...
I had a skype session recently with a 7-year old boy and his father. The boy had been getting into trouble at school and at home, and his dad was at his wits’ end! He didn’t know what to do anymore. He was exhausted.
The two of them were together in a room, sitting in chairs next to each other, behind a table. Or rather, the Dad was sitting upright in his chair and the boy was upside down in his … legs and feet waving in the air, head nowhere to be seen! The Dad said to him in a part-stern part-begging voice … “Joey, you need to sit up … you’re not being polite.”
I quickly reassured the Dad that it was fine with me for his son to choose how to sit in the session. His dad looked relieved. A little arm appeared and waved at me!
I asked Dad what was going on, and, as he told me about his son’s behaviors, the legs and arm continued to flail in the air.
Then, I asked the boy if I could ask him a...
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 that they are not normal and average. My point of view is that 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.
So many of the parents I have known and worked with tell me they are frustrated – with the schools, with their kids, with their families, and, with themselves - for wanting the best for their kids, wanting their kids to be happy, recognizing that they are different, and, feeling at a loss as to how to help their kids … and themselves … have an easier go of life.
Here are 5 tips and tools from my therapy practice and from Access Consciousness® you can use to create...