Description: This is an overview of the assessment and treatment of children with complex mental health problems. The book is divided into three broad sections that methodically illustrate an approach to children that strives to prevent or alleviate chronic mental illness by timely diagnosis, complete assessment, and intervention. The information is evidence based and the authors have made an effort to provide an integrated approach to treating children.
Purpose: The primary purpose is to provide readers with a thorough understanding of the complex challenges of assessing and treating children. The book discusses the current understanding of brain development and child psychopathology along with known genetic factors contributing to some psychiatric disorders as well as ongoing research in the field. It explains the roles of the various professionals involved in the management of children with behavioral and emotional dysregulation. The authors do not intend to provide detailed information on neurobiology, psychiatric diagnoses, psychopharmacology, or psychotherapeutic techniques. The authors focus on a systems approach and making readers aware of their responsibility to provide an integrated treatment approach.
Audience: The authors suggest that this book can be used as a primary or secondary textbook for undergraduate or graduate clinical training programs in child psychopathology. It can be useful to psychology students, child psychiatry residents, social workers, and other clinicians working with children. It will certainly help recent graduates practicing in the field.
Features: The first of the book's three sections details the developmental and functional aspects of assessment and treatment. The authors use the explanatory theory of developmental psychopathology and the transactional model. They detail typical developmental milestones along with parenting strategies for each age until age 13 in a tabular format for a very convenient reference. The authors describe detailed biological and psychosocial factors affecting the child from genetic vulnerability to temperament styles. This section continues with an overview of screening and assessment. The authors list commonly used tools and various screening tests for different ages. They emphasize that any subsequent evaluation is incomplete without a comprehensive multidisciplinary assessment involving speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, teachers, and pediatricians. Section 2, on understanding the problem and its treatment, consists of information on sensory processing and integration, language and communication disorders, and the effects of trauma. It is the longest section, covering sensorimotor problems to disorders of attachment, with information on several DSM 5 diagnoses, although it is minimal. The final section describes strategies to work with parents, school-based mental health services, and early intervention programs. The suggestions for early intervention programs are valuable and explain their economic benefits. Each chapter in the book includes case vignettes that demonstrate the concepts.
Assessment: Overall, this book provides valuable information on taking care of children with complex mental health challenges. Chapters present information in tabular format, which makes the book easy to use in practice. The case vignettes are practical and helpful in understanding a child as a unique case and not just a diagnosis. The list of the most valid and reliable screening and assessment tools is valuable, as is the information on useful websites. The book also clearly provides up-to-date, basic information on neurobiology and genetics, as well as ongoing research in the field.