Description: This is a manual for parents of children with epilepsy or chronic seizure disorders. It was written by a neuropsychologist with extensive experience in evaluating children with epilepsy as well as in parenting and educational interventions for children.
Purpose: The book is intended to provide parents tools to discipline their child, support social development, and negotiate the educational system as an effective advocate for the child. Although relatively brief (160 pages), the book provides a wealth of practical information.
Audience: The book was written for parents in easy, comprehensible language. The author does not shirk from using medical terms but always provides a clear and simple explanation for complicated medical or neuropsychological terminology. As a neuropsychologist with 20 years of experience in the pediatric epilepsy center at Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the author is a very credible and compassionate authority.
Features: The initial four chapters of the book discuss general issues in child management and the unique problems epilepsy poses for the child and family's adjustment. Each chapter is organized in a question/answer format, so the reader can easily skim through a chapter to answer a specific question. However when read straight through, the chapters provide a good general discussion of the issues. The chapters cover a general review of the neurological dysfunction of epilepsy, disruption that seizures cause to family routines, disciplinary problems and disciplinary approaches for children with seizures, and academic/educational problems that children with epilepsy encounter. The middle section is an excellent review of the cognitive dysfunctions seen in focal epilepsy syndromes involving the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes. The final sections of the book cover the specific problems that epilepsy causes in various age groups. Each chapter closes with a recommended reading list from familiar parenting books, manuals, and pamphlets from the Epilepsy Society. Although the chapters are set up in narrative format, important issues such as designing behavior management programs, disciplinary approaches for various age children, and reviews of the various educational laws are covered in brief, clear tables. The only shortcoming of the book is its lack of discussion of medication in a systematic manner. Although medication problems are mentioned in several chapters, there is no single chapter or listing of commonly used epilepsy medications and their side effects. The author did offer some practical suggestions for getting children to take unsavory medications.
Assessment: This book would be a great help to parents of children with epilepsy. The concise format and easy readability should make it an excellent addition to the literature on special parenting needs.