Description: This book is a compendium of current assessment and treatment literature for autistic spectrum disorders.
Purpose: The book has been "written to help the nonspecialist provide state-of-the-art care for autism patients."
Audience: It is aimed at medical and mental health professionals who encounter autistic children in various settings. The language of the book is clear and concise, and should be accessible to those outside the medical and psychology professions. However, knowledge of DSM-IV diagnoses and medical terminology will assist in comprehension. The contributing authors appear well qualified and passionate about this subject. With the exception of Peter Jensen, the contributors are all from the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (M.I.N.D.) Institute of University of California-Davis.
Features: The book starts with a brief history and overview of autism, but is composed largely of sections on assessment and treatment. The assessment section emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach, with contributions from a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a pediatrician, and a neurologist. The treatment section describes current behavioral and educational interventions. There is a separate chapter on psychopharmacology. The final portion of the book has useful chapters on alternative theories, cultural issues, and professional-parent collaboration. There is an excellent appendix on parent resources.
Assessment: This work provides a valuable overview of contemporary knowledge concerning autism. It would serve as an excellent primer for those assessing autistic youth, as well as for students. In highlighting recent advances in research and theory, the book gives strong emphasis to the benefits of early identification and aggressive treatment of autism. The authors are to be commended for their approach, which stresses collaboration between professions and the inclusion of parents in treatment. By design, the book is limited in depth, essentially offering summaries of current literature. However, each chapter is amply referenced, which will make searching for more comprehensive material a simple matter.