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From The CriticsReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: There has been a recent proliferation of handbooks in pediatric neuropsychology. This latest entry is an update to a book originally published in 1999.
Purpose: The primary purpose is to provide information on neurodevelopmental and genetic disorders encountered in a pediatric neuropsychology practice.
Audience: The authors do not indicate a particular audience, but given the early chapter on neuropsychological assessment, neuropsychologists are the presumed target. Those in other disciplines also may find this compelling, such as child and school psychologists, child psychiatrists, pediatricians, and pediatric neurologists. The editors and authors have all made scholarly contributions to the field.
Features: The book is organized into three sections. The first section is an overview of the field, neuropsychological assessment of these disorders and diseases, and other evaluative modalities to aid in the assessment. Along those lines, the chapter on neuroimaging genetic disorders is well done with much more updated references than some other chapters. Each disorder is accorded a summary of the literature regarding structural abnormalities with color plates of MRIs demonstrating the differences. One drawback is that some are very small and difficult to see. A second drawback is the lack of functional neuroimaging, which could be much more valuable to neuropsychologists. The remainder of the book focuses on disorders with mainly learning and behavior issues, then progresses to disorders with more widespread deficits. This dichotomy is arguable and without clear merit. Although there is some useful information in these chapters, the neuropsychological content is much less than expected, and it is virtually nil in some chapters. The book generally has a much greater focus on pathology and treatment than on assessment or diagnosis. Nonetheless, treatments in some of the chapters are purely medical and of equivocal value to neuropsychologists or school psychologists. The inclusion of some of the figures or pictures is questionable. For example, a picture of three children with Fragile X syndrome has a caption that states the physical features of the pictured children are not typical of the syndrome. This space would have been better used to cover the major genetic disorders, but unfortunately some key disorders are omitted, such as Williams syndrome. Many of the references have been updated to as recent as 2009 and the index is reasonable.
Assessment: The second edition generally updates the literature and may be worth purchasing. Readers interested in an overview of the pathophysiology of genetic disorders supplemented by variable information on epidemiology, diagnosis, neuropsychological assessment, and treatment, will find this book a concise reference. Nevertheless, readers should not expect to find a dedicated handbook of neuropsychological assessment and treatment of these disorders. A more neuropsychologically-oriented book and a bigger bang for the buck is Cognitive and Behavioral Abnormalities of Pediatric Diseases, Nass and Frank (Oxford University Press, 2010).