Book Review: Kids Beyond Limits

The Harried Parent's Book Club Review

Kids Beyond Limits
Cover image courtesy of Perigee

Kids Beyond Limits

The Anat Baniel Method for Awakening the Brain and Transforming the Life of Your Child With Special Needs

By Anat Baniel; 288 pages. Published by Perigee

About the Rating

50-Word Review

Can simple techniques like gentle touch and manipulation, slowing things down, targeting attention and awareness, and restructuring your goals really bring about an amazing brain transformation and dramatic new skills for your developmentally delayed child?

Anat Baniel says yes, and her book is full of case studies to prove it.

250-Word Review

I'm usually ticked off by books in which a doctor effortlessly employs a novel method to bring about big changes in children that others have given up on. These books are usually heavy on case studies that make the doctor/author look fantastically perceptive and sensitive, and while the transformations do indeed sound miraculous, it's hard to believe that you'd be able to get the same results yourself, at least without the doctor's magic wand.

I guess it's high praise for Kids Without Limits, then, that it didn't annoy me as much as books like this usually do. It's a quick read, with short chapters and clear accessible prose, and the method is well-described, though it seems too simple to be true. The book includes a detailed description of the nine essentials of the Anat Baniel Method, which you can read about in briefer detail on the author's website.

In the book, you'll find stories about how each essential has worked with patients in her practice and what you can do to use it in your daily life with your child.

While actually going to sessions with Baniel or another practitioner of her method may cost you, I liked the fact that the method itself uses no specialized equipment, and there's no harm to your child in trying it out.

In fact, much of it will create a more positive and playful atmosphere between you and your child that, even if it doesn't change your lives, will likely make them easier.

Is This Book for You?

It's definitely for you if: you're interested in the Anat Baniel Method and want to know more about it before seeking out a practitioner ... you're always on the lookout for positive, noninvasive therapies you can do with your child at home ... you've been given no hope regarding your child's abilities and are totally up for a miracle.

It may be for you if: you're interested in reading about treatment methods that appear to have some science behind them ... you have a child with cerebral palsy or Fragile X syndrome and are psyched to see case studies about kids with those diagnoses triumphing ... books that suggest the brain can be changed, and through relatively simple methods, give you hope.

It may not be for you if: you're suspicious of programs with quick dramatic results ... you're bothered by phrases like "he's a different child!" ...

your child's particular disabilities don't involve brain damage or developmental differences.

It's definitely not for you if: you strongly believe in targeting a child's deficits and working hard on teaching those skills ... you've found another method that works for you and don't want questions put in your head ... you're a grammar snob for whom words like "attentioning" and "awaring" will be painful.

Try This Now

Baniel suggests that the current push to get children to their important milestones earlier and earlier is inappropriate for the human brain, which is designed to go slow and make rich connections even when it seems the child isn't doing much. In her chapter on Slow, one of the exercises she recommends for parents is spending ten minutes a day just slowing down to be with your child. No TV or computer or cell phone, just you doing nothing but watching, observing without judgment, following your child's cues, and refraining from controlling or bossing or instructing. It will help you and your little one become more attuned, and maybe help you be a little slower and less stressed yourself. Both of those are great for your child.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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