2 out of 4 stars
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Everyone will agree that a sick child is a parent’s worst nightmare. A physical illness is one thing; a mental health issue is another. When your child is diagnosed with something like autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), what can you do to help?
Norio Ando, a Japanese professor and “certificated clinical psychologist,” writes about childhood developmental disorders and the way they can be alleviated. Having tackled autism in an earlier book, Ando turns his attention to ADHD in ADHD Can Be Improved with Your Bare Hands: Methods for Relaxing Your Hyperactive Child. In just 53 pages, Ando discusses the types of ADHD and cautions against the common response of suppressing hyperactivity. Instead, he offers the principle of “relaxed pleasure” or the “pleasure which we usually feel when we are satisfied with the anticipated results.” Ando then proceeds to describe applications of this principle through simple actions and activities that parents themselves can do. Tickling, arm-swinging, and deep breathing are some examples.
The author starts with a disclaimer that his English is not that good, adding, “Please teach me when you find mistakes.” This openness to suggestions is a praiseworthy quality, and it bolsters the impression that the book was written to genuinely impart knowledge that can help those in need. Given everything, however, it pains me to rate this book a measly 2 out of 4 stars. Beyond the nobility of its purpose and the possible value of its contents, ADHD Can Be Improved with Your Bare Hands needs a ton of improvement itself before it can stand the scrutiny of the psychological community and be deemed ready for public consumption. If the author should keep his mind open a bit longer, please let me offer a few suggestions.
First, the book’s credibility needs to be established. Mental illness is a grave topic, so any suggested method, procedure, or treatment should be research-based and outcomes-based. The book did include three case studies of two two-year-olds and a four-year-old, but there was nothing for the higher age ranges for which the book also offered some suggested methods. I was also bothered by the absence of references and citations, particularly because the view of ADHD (typology, etiology, etc.) departs from the standards set by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychological Association (APA). While the book's take on ADHD is intriguing, it doesn’t help that the wording is imprecise (“I think there are three kinds of ADHD…”). The legal disclaimer, too, did not inspire a lot of confidence, as Ando warns that one method can cause dislocation, and the other, concussion.
This brings me to my second point: the book definitely needs a hard edit to improve structure and organization and enhance clarity and readability. Problems in the use of punctuations, prepositions, and articles make the text challenging to read. Awkward phrasings are also common. Most are undoubtedly results of mistranslations, but statements like, “When he feels relaxed displeasure by being stimulated, his resignation is promoted,” and “Jiggling child’s body, making him bend backwards, pleasantly,” are bound to be misinterpreted by a fluent English speaker. Thankfully, there were illustrations accompanying the text, and while a bit crude and unclear at times, they were helpful in clarifying what the methods should look like.
Finally, the presentation of information served as a barrier to comprehension. For this, I’d recommend indicating the page numbers in the "Contents" page for easy reference, defining the concept of relaxed pleasure before advising it, moving the last chapter (where a key conceptual framework is presented) to the front, and weaving the case studies throughout the discussion of the methods. I’d also commission a graphic designer to redraw the illustrations and to reformat the book.
Overall, ADHD Can Be Improved with Your Bare Hands has the potential to be a groundbreaking guide in the mental health arena; however, I will hold off recommending this book to anyone until further editing can occur. Until then, I wish the author success in this endeavor.
ADHD can be improved with your bare hands
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