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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: The field of pediatric neuropsychology is vast, but highly specialized. This book is comprehensive reference on all aspects of the practice of pediatric neuropsychology.
Purpose: The aim is to present all aspects of relevant practice from a research-based perspective for this relatively young field.
Audience: The target audience is clearly pediatric neuropsychologists and students of this discipline. It assumes familiarity with the practice of neuropsychology and readers without this foundation are unlikely to find much of interest beyond the first two sections on development and neuroscience. The contributing authors are plentiful for this immense project, but not always appropriate for this book. There are a number of adult specialists among the authors, as well as authors who are not neuropsychologists or even doctoral level contributors. Well-recognized experts in pediatric neuropsychology are conspicuously absent.
Features: The sheer size of this book (over 1,000 pages) is both daunting and comforting. Although it will certainly take many long nights to grind through the copious amounts of information, one would think readers would be assured that all relevant topics are covered. This is often not the case. The book begins with an overview of development, as well as functional neuroanatomy. Although the latter section is detailed and appropriately technical, the functional neuroanatomy covers only the major structures. Minor but important structures are missing. As the book progresses through neuropsychological assessment, there is an embarrassingly cursory listing of tests that are used in the field. Several chapters completely neglect the marquee instruments for the particular disease or disorder. Even the tests that are included have only a brief description, and no critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses to help readers better appreciate appropriate test selection. Fixed batteries that are rarely used in clinical practice take up valuable space. Fortunately, there is a revival in the latter half of the book with a review of numerous medical conditions associated with neuropsychological impairment from spina bifida to toxin exposure to endocrine abnormalities. The references are current and the index is helpful.
Assessment: This is a monumental enterprise that falls well short of being the pinnacle reference for pediatric neuropsychologists. In fact, it could mislead students and novice clinicians with its authoritative appearance and critical omissions. The usefulness of the extensive medical disease review does not outweigh the shortcomings and readers should consider Cognitive and Behavioral Abnormalities of Pediatric Disease, Nass and Frank (Oxford University Press, 2010) for an enhanced empirical review.