Book Review: Kids Beyond Limits by Anat Baniel

Book Review: Kids Beyond Limits
Anat Baniel is clinical psychologist and a well known therapist  for special needs children. She specializes in therapies that improve brain functioning and communication and is the developer of a treatment program that has helped thousands of children with genetic and neurological disorders.

She has just completed a book called Kids Beyond Limits.  In her book she outlines, in nine steps, her methods for improving the communication, movement, emotional and cognitive problems seen in children with neurological disabilities.

The author's book is mostly devoted to the work she has done with children on the autism spectrum, cerebral palsy, and other genetic and developmental disorders but Ms. Baniel also treats patients with ADHD using the methods that she outlines in her book.

The autistic, cerebral palsy, and fragile X kids that she works with have many movement disabilities that parents of children with ADHD, thankfully, do not have to address. Many of the children who come to her clinic are severely mentally or physically "locked in", unable to move, communicate or emote in any way.  Because some of this book is devoted to children with very severe physical disabilities, I was skeptical that I would find anything in Kids Beyond Limits that would help ADHD or Inattentive ADD.  I was wrong.

The Anat Baniel Method does help kids with ADHD because much of the focus of her approach is on:
  • Teaching you how you meet and accept your child's development progress where it is right now and why that matters.
  • Teaching you to pay attention to how and why your child engages their environment in they way that they do.    
This book does a fantastic job of reminding us that it can be detrimental to our mental health and to the mental health of our children to always be trying to fix them. She asks us to move away from a "Fix" mind set and more into a "Meet the child where they are" mindset as she believes that this is a much more productive way to encourage improvement and growth. Baniel claims that kids can feel when they are not
meeting your expectations and that this is stressful for them and, in the end, can lead to more, not less disability.

She does not believe in fake praise or applauding achievement that does not exist but she believes
in finding what the child can do and working with that. She has these nine essentials that she advises parents to work within and some of them I found to be very useful when you are parenting a kid (or two in my case) with ADHD.

She calls one of the essentials "slow" and describes why as parents we need to slow down. In this chapter she describes what it feels like to kids who cannot keep up. Kids who are 3-4 years behind developmentally, as are many children with ADHD, find it hard to keep up. The author explains how and why helping them at their pace is more helpful than pushing them to speed up.

There were several others of Baniel’s nine essentials that I found useful. "Awareness" is an essential where Baniel teaches us how to attend to our environment in a way that also teaches our children to attend to theirs. The "Enthusiasm" essential is a trait that could also be called joyful acceptance. This essential is not the same as praise and is explained in clear detail. The "Flexible goals" essential is also helpful and especially important as our kids are often on their own timeline.

I learned much from reading Kids Beyond Limits. Reading it has helped me understand ADHD from my children's perspective.    Baniel's book is clearly written, well organized and contains practical tools for implementing every step that she recommends. This book reminds us that our children would be doing better if they could, that they are working with the brain limitations that they have, that even the most "locked in" children have keys, within them, to the communication, learning and emotional jail cells that imprison them and that we, as parents, can provide much needed support until our kids find those keys.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.