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 ask immediately were,
What if there’s nothing wrong with people with autism?
What if they are just different?
What else is possible here that we’re not looking at?
What if they could be seen as who they are, not as who they aren’t?
There is nothing ‘wrong’ with them. They are different!
One belief that causes enormous harm is the belief that because they are different, there is something wrong with them and they need to be fixed.
And by asking them to be fixed, they are being asked to become somebody they are not.
People with autism are different! … in how they learn, how they behave, how they show affection, how they interact with others, how they look, what they like to do …
And, trying to make them conform, treating them the same way as other kids and adults are treated, punishing them for being who they are … none of that works, and in fact, disempowers them.
Their ‘disabilities’ are actually capacities
People with autism are super sensitive, super aware of everything, especially of other people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions, and, because they are aware of them, think that they are theirs.
Without tools to deal with that level of sensitivity, they can act out, behave badly, become unhappy and lose hope … which oftentimes leads to them being bullied and made fun of by peers, and reprimanded by authority figures.
They have spherical awareness. They are not linear. They are more like radio towers, taking in everything, and, with that much information coming in, they don’t know what to do with it, so they can either shut down or act out.
They communicate primarily energetically, or telepathically. Words are way too slow. They will pay more attention to the energy you are being than they will to what you are saying.
A different take on autism
You/your child/loved one do not need to be fixed. Traditional therapies are about fixing people, which is why they don’t work.
Given effective tools that actually do work, you/your child/loved one can learn ways of handling life’s daily challenges and ups and downs, without compromising who you, or they, are.
Some Tools You Can Use
Think of something you’ve been told about someone with labeled with autism that may not ring true … (for example with a child, whose math teacher is failing him, “He just needs to show his work,” when he gets the answers to math problems without having to do the work.)
When you ask a question, there’s an energy that comes up.
Ask yourself, “is it true that he can’t know the answers if he doesn’t show the work?”
Is the energy that comes up light or heavy? If it’s light, it’s true for you. If it’s heavy, it’s not true for you or it’s a lie.
You can align and agree with a point of view, or you can resist and react to a point of view. That’s the polarity of this reality.
Or you can be in allowance. Allowance is everything is just an interesting point of view. What is interesting point of view? The whole idea of interesting point of view is to give you the place where you don’t have to buy into anybody else’s reality.
It’s very easy for people to fall into the trap of aligning and agreeing with what the “experts” tell them about people with autism, and what the “right” way to be with them/parent them and/or educate them is.
It makes a world of difference when you shift out of alignment and agreement: “Oh, yes, that must be right,” and instead move into allowance: “Hmm, that’s an interesting point of view. What’s true for me and my child/loved one?”
Don’t judge them, or you
Any time someone judges you, it’s because they are being or doing whatever they are judging you for.
How many judgments of other people do you take on as though they were real and true?
How many judgments do you see projected at people with autism?
Here’s what you can say to the kids … and to yourself: “When someone judges you as being not good enough, it just indicates that the other person feels not good enough. They are projecting their judgment about themselves onto you. It’s crazy—because it has nothing to do with the way you are. They are throwing the judgments they have of themselves onto you.”
Who does this belong to?®
There is a difference between perceiving a judgment and feeling as if you deserve it. Here is a tool you can use that you can also teach to your kids.
Get a thought, feeling, or emotion you’ve had in the past few days or that you’re having right now, and ask,
Who does this belong to?® Is it mine or someone else’s?
If it gets lighter or goes away, it’s not yours. It’s an awareness of someone else’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Just send it back. You can say, “Return to sender!”
And you don’t have to know whose thought, feeling or emotion it is.
We All Have These Abilities
We all have these abilities, but when we don’t acknowledge them, we create a limitation of our- selves. We try to linearize ourselves into the normalcy of this reality.
~ Gary Douglas
How many times have you thought about someone, and then that person called you or sent you an email? Or you saw them and said, “Oh, I was just thinking about you!”
How many times have you known exactly what someone was about to say before they said it?
Do you think faster than you can speak?
Have you ever known ahead of time what was going to happen, and then it did?
Do you judge yourself unrelentingly for being so different?
Have you ever been able to sit still? Ever?
Have you ever been able to make your mind slow down? Ever?
This blog is just the tip of the iceberg ... there are so many more concepts and tools in Access classes, telecalls, books, blogs that you can use to tap into what you do know, and, to create more ease for yourself and for the kids in your life. Access Consciousness Website
About Anne Maxwell
Anne is a psychotherapist with over 25 years of experience working with children, families and adults. Trained as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LCSW and a Registered Play Therapist – Supervisor, RPT-S. She is also an Access Consciousness® Certified Facilitator. In addition to her therapy practice, she travels across the country and around the world, facilitating workshops and speaking to groups of parents, school staffs, and medical and mental health professionals, to create awareness and change for kids, families and adults.
She co-authored, with Gary Douglas and Dr. Dain Heer, co-creators of Access Consciousness, the international best selling book, Would You Teach a Fish to Climb a Tree? A Different Take on Kids with ADD, ADHD, OCD and Autism. She is the author of The Keys to the Magic: A Play Therapist’s Handbook of Family Centered Play Therapy (the handbook she wishes she had been given when she first started working with kids as a play therapist!)
Anne has hosted a couple of radio shows, including one called the Magic of Being, a weekly show she did with Ricky Williams, former NFL player, and another that ran for two years on VoiceAmerica. She has also been a guest on numerous other syndicated shows.
Contact Anne at: Anne@annemaxwelllcsw.com