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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Paul H. Dworkin, MD (University of Connecticut School of Medicine)
Description: This new book, written by a consultant developmental pediatrician in private practice in Sydney, Australia, presents a comprehensive overview of attention deficit disorder (ADD), including definition, clinical characteristics, etiology, assessment/diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a practical overview of ADD for children's caregivers, including parents, teachers, doctors, psychologists, and others. The author wishes to overcome "widespread ignorance" by imparting knowledge and changing attitudes.
Audience: The attempt to simultaneously address the needs of both professionals and lay persons is problematic. Certain concepts and generalizations are inappropriate simplifications for physicians, whereas the lay reader seeking an introduction to the topic may be overwhelmed by the book's comprehensive and detailed explanations. Discussions of resources and educational approaches are of limited value to non-Australian readers.
Features: The book includes a limited number of useful tables. Select figures, such as quantitative analysis of EEG tracings, are misleading in overstating the value of neurophysiological tests. No references are provided, further limiting the value of this book for professionals. Succinct summaries at the end of each chapter are helpful.
Assessment: Although imparting knowledge and favorably altering attitudes are worthy objectives, the author sets a somewhat confrontational tone in citing widespread ignorance. The attempt to simultaneously address parents and professionals is misguided, resulting in a book of limited value to only sophisticated lay persons seeking to expand their knowledge or the uninformed professional seeking a broad overview. Although most of the content is reliable, certain statements are unsubstantiated, such as the value of neuroelectrophysiological and neuroanatomical testing, the unique importance of the "specialist pediatrician," the recommendation of pharmacological treatment for all children, and the value of computerized performance testing. The book may be of greater value in Australia, if no such general reviews are available.