Unravelling Childhood Thinking

Anselm Lee

Mind Matters in Children by paediatrician Dr Kenneth Lyen is a comprehensive book on childhood thinking. Trying to unravel the complexity of their thought processes is one of the most complex challenges of paediatrics and neuropsychiatry. Children keep on changing as they develop, such that an infant thinks quite differently when compared to a toddler, a primary school child or a teenager. The difficulty of trying to interpret their cerebration is compounded by their inability to express themselves when they are very young; and even when they are older, they often find difficulty rating the subtlety or severity of their problems using a scale of one to ten.

The range of topics covered in this book is extremely wide, spanning intelligence, creativity and memory, to medical conditions such as intellectual disability, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and depression. The chapter on consciousness is especially interesting as Dr Lyen proposes a new theory to explain this baffling paradox. He takes Descartes' dualism and incorporates it into Snow White's mirror and shatters it into mind-reading fragments to expound his new theory. I also found the chapter on the importance of early diagnosis and management of mental health issues – which can be achieved through taking time to talk to children and ensuring they exercise and take relaxation breaks – to be intriguing. Additionally, the chapter on autism is insightful as it emphasises the importance of individualising the diagnosis and treatment of each child on the autism spectrum, and the importance of helping with their communicative and social development. The style of writing is also very fluent and humorous, making it difficult to put down the book once I started reading it. With all this in mind, I highly recommend it to parents, teachers, healthcare workers and anyone dealing with kids on a daily basis.

Book blurb

Our mind is one of the most extraordinary wonders of mankind! We use it to think critically and creatively, it stores our treasured memories, it helps us make friends and look after our loved ones, and it can transform our impossible dreams into reality.

Sometimes we encounter glitches in our life's journey. The brain may not advance as fast as expected. This book delves into both the normal as well as the abnormal functioning of a child's mind. Topics covered include intelligence, creativity, consciousness, memory and normal development. It also gives practical advice on how to manage children's mental health and problems like ADHD, dyslexia, autism and depression.

The book is timely because of the recent surge in interest of the human mind during the COVID-19 pandemic where there has been a dramatic worldwide increase in mental problems brought about by isolation, economic slowdown, unemployment, and loss of our loved ones.

This book is suitable for everyone who is fascinated by the human mind.

Title: Mind Matters in Children
Author: Kenneth Lyen
Number of pages: 268 (paperback)
ISBN: 9789811253324 (paperback), 9789811252402 (hardcover), 9789811252426 (ebook)
Type of book: Paperback, hardcover and ebook
Publisher: World Scientific Publishing
Year of publication: 2022

Anselm Lee is a paediatrician and paediatric haematologist-oncologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital.