Janis Joseph and her nephew, Sam Duncan, have collaborated on a children’s book called ‘Freddie the Frog’, designed to help children with anxiety. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Alberni behavioural consultant teams with nephew to write children’s book on anxiety

Freddie the Frog addresses children’s anxieties on their level, says author

What if I fail? What if they laugh at me? What if my best isn’t good enough?

People of all ages go through the “what-ifs”. For children, especially those living with ADHD, autism or learning disabilities, the “what-ifs” can be magnified, says Port Alberni behavioural consultant Janis Joseph.

Joseph has written a children’s book called Freddie the Frog designed to address these types of anxieties. Even more importantly, she teamed up with her nephew, Sam Duncan, who illustrated the book.

“He has all these anxieties,” Joseph says of her nephew, who is 19 and was diagnosed with Asperger’s and ADHD when he was in grade school.

Joseph had written her book a year and a half ago, and set it aside. When she saw a comic that Sam drew for a graphics class he was taking earlier this year, she knew the time was right.

“When the opportunity came for me to collaborate with my nephew, I jumped at the chance,” she says.

Sam enrolled in the Camosun College Comics and Graphic Novels course in Victoria after graduating from high school in 2016. “I believe art is a good way to overcome the problems caused by learning disabilities,” he says.

In Freddie the Frog, Freddie replaces his natural “ribbit, ribbit” sound with “what if, what if”. He questions whether he can participate in activities with his friends, and he goes home in a bad mood. His mom suggests he take some time to cool down, and Freddie spends some time with his calm-down basket in his room before coming out to talk about what is making him anxious.

Joseph, a single parent of four children, owns Fresh Steps Behaviour Consulting in Port Alberni. For more than 20 years she has devoted her life to working with families and children with behavioural challenges and special needs. “More often than not, children’s behaviours of outbursts, meltdowns and shutdowns stem from anxieties and fears,” says Joseph.

“Anxieties are real and honest to all children; they believe what they feel,” she says. “Passing anxieties off as nothing can harm a child’s perception of reality, support and understanding.

“I wrote this book for kids to access. I wrote this because a lot of families I work with here have so many children with anxieties…it’s everywhere. Every child seems to be suffering from some sort of anxiety,” she says. “It’s that fear of ‘what if’ that stops people from doing it. That’s why I came up with the frog, Freddie.

“I feel we have so many books for adults to read on anxiety; I wanted kids to identify with the character,” she adds

“When Sam was putting this together he said he recognized himself,” says Joseph.

“I identify with Freddie because like him, I’ve dealt with anxieties before,” says Sam. “Learning to overcome anxieties is an important part of life, and I hope this book helps people with that.

“I think the message of Freddie the Frog is great for kids and adults alike,” he says.

“My hope is to have kids pick up this book and see themselves, and know there is hope out there, and there are strategies and tools that can help them,” Joseph adds. “I always say to my parents ‘you are not alone; you are not the only parent with an anxious child.’”

Joseph hopes one day to build an anxiety program for kids based on Freddie the Frog. “(Sam) is excited to expand this,” she says.

Freddie the Frog is available from Joseph directly by e-mailing freshsteps.jj@telus.net. The book costs $10 plus shipping, and proceeds are going toward the What’s Bugging You anti-anxiety program for kids that Joseph runs in Port Alberni.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

 

Janis Joseph and her nephew, Sam Duncan, have collaborated on a children’s book called ‘Freddie the Frog’, designed to help children with anxiety. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Just Posted

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive on Oct. 20 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich the night before. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear spotted several times in Saanich likely to be euthanized

Conservation officers still searching for bear reported near Elk Lake Drive

Frederick Lee and Eva Lillian Baker lived in Victoria from the 1930s until their passing. Now, their great nephew who lives in Birmingham, U.K. is asking for Victoria residents’ help to learn more. (Courtesy Derek Roft)
Don your detective hats Greater Victoria — a U.K. man wants your help

Derek Roft is on a mission to find out more about relatives that emigrated to Canada in 1912

Canadians have been spending more money, not to too mention more time on online technology, according to Statistics Canada. (Black Press Media File)
YouTube, other free streaming services big winners as Canadians spent more time online

More than four in 10 Canadians experienced at least one type of cyber-security incident

(Black Press Media file photo)
Be prepared: Know what to do in the event of a tsunami warning

Localized alert systems can provide potentially life-saving information

The Alberni-Clayoquot Recycling Depot is located on Third Avenue in Port Alberni. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
EDITORIAL: It’s Waste Reduction Week in Canada. What are you doing to reduce waste?

How can you challenge yourself to assist in diverting more waste from the landfill?

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

A mature Garry oak fell onto Richmond Road on Oct. 13 near Camosun College Lansdowne campus. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Crashing Garry oaks raise urban tree concerns

Saanich responded to 59 tree-related calls

The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
Sexual assault suspect sought by West Shore RCMP

Police are looking for help identifying this man

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

A concept of homes on Ronald Road as part of the Clark-Medd project. (Lantzville Projects Ltd. image)
Lantzville moves along massive housing development as protesters rally outside district hall

Council passes third readings of OCP amendment for Clark-Medd project by 3-2 votes

A pair of students take part in the Greenways Land Trust Junior Streamkeeper program last year. Photo supplied by Greenways Land Trust
Greenways continues work with school groups in Campbell River despite pandemic

Environmental group has concerns with possible loss of volunteers, however

Most Read