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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: R. Brent Worthen, PhD (Houston Community College)
Description: This edited work is a collaboration by many practitioners working in the field of profound and multiple learning disabilities to provide current factual information pertaining to the diverse personal and social needs of the profoundly disabled population.
Purpose: This book is intended to serve as a practical reference source for practitioners and students in advanced courses. It is intended to illuminate the complex needs of this population and to stimulate thinking about better ways in which to serve the most profoundly disabled members of society.
Audience: The intended audience is practitioners working with children and adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities (i.e., profound mental retardation). Indeed, it fits this niche quite nicely. This text would be of value to anyone providing services to the population of individuals who suffer profound and multiple disabilities (e.g., teachers, healthcare professionals, social workers, psychologists) and to anyone interested in the field of profound mental impairment and multiple disabilities. Each of the chapter authors has significant experience in the field and ably communicates important information about the lives of people with profound and multiple disabilities.
Features: This book shares practical experiences of specialists working closely with members of the profoundly disabled population. The text is divided into four sections. The first covers the health, physical, sensory, and personal needs of the profoundly disabled population and ways of meeting these needs. The second section focuses on aspects of communication and social development. The third section addresses learning capabilities of this population and ways to facilitate the process of learning. The last section offers a broad community perspective, advocating for community integration. The four chapters comprising the first section offer a very insightful and cohesive view of the basic needs of the profoundly disabled population. The editors do a nice job of outlining strategies to facilitate the development of the profoundly impaired. A consistent theme running throughout the text is the emphasis on multidisciplinary collaboration to meet the needs of this unique population.
Assessment: This text is a significant contribution to the literature. The book is informative and of practical value to anyone interested on the field of profound and multiple disabilities. The text includes careful referencing of the literature. My one criticism is the title of the book. The term learning disabilities is commonly recognized as a category of disorders in which the individual is unable to achieve academically at a level consistent with his/her level of intellectual capacity. That population is not the focus of this book. Rather, the text is about people with profound mental retardation and related disabilities. In my opinion, the title is misleading and quite unfortunate. It would be a shame for such an excellent text to be overlooked by professionals in the field because of the errant title.