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Book Forum: CHILD PSYCHIATRY   |    
Developmental Disability and Behaviour
Am J Psychiatry 2001;158:1175-1176. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.7.1175
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Omaha, Neb.

Edited by Christopher Gillberg and Gregory O’Brien. London, Mac Keith Press (New York, Cambridge University Press, distributor), 2000, 189 pp., $64.95.

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In this book the editors and contributors have created a very useful review of the important topic of challenging pediatric behaviors. They have assembled an expert group of authors from the fields of child and adolescent psychiatry, pediatric neurology, clinical psychology, neuropsychology, psychotherapy, and community-based pediatric services. The authors write with the clarity and insight that is produced by substantial clinical and teaching experience.

The book begins with excellent introductory chapters on disabilities and the management of problem behaviors. The best and most useful chapters that follow review behavior in young people with hearing and visual impairment, traumatic brain damage, behavior analysis, neuropsychological testing, therapeutic interventions for neuropsychiatric disorders, medication management, and psychotherapy for children with developmental disabilities. All of the chapters are well written and provide useful information for clinicians.

In a review book such as this it may be surprising to see chapter titles on Rett syndrome and Landau-Kleffner syndrome. Clearly it could be argued that the book would be stronger if it had devoted chapters specifically to some of the more common developmental disorders such as autism or Down’s syndrome. But the contributors use these syndromes to discuss broader behavioral issues and also to highlight distinct or dissimilar features between Rett syndrome and autistiform behaviors as well as the gait and motion symptoms of cerebral palsy.

Similarly, the chapter on behavioral aspects of Landau-Kleffner syndrome is constructed to discuss that syndrome and other behavioral presentations as well. Among the primary topics discussed are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autistic spectrum disorders, sleep disturbances, aggression, and problematic seizure behavior.

A chapter covering ambulatory electronic monitoring in sleep disorders may be a bit eclectic but is nevertheless useful and well written. Sleep disorders seem to be generating more clinical and research interest relative to developmental disabilities, and this chapter will add to our understanding of this topic.

It should be iterated that this is an overview of pediatric disorders of development and associated behaviors. It is not meant to explore this large and complex topic comprehensively. Additionally, the editors and some of the other chapter authors recognize that there is no international agreement on terminology, and they are careful to point out the differences. There are several examples of the effort to clarify these confusing conflicts. Internationally it is more common to see the term "mental retardation," as opposed to "learning disability," which is the common phrase in the United Kingdom. In the United States, "learning disability" refers to a specific problem of knowledge acquisition within an overall picture of normal intelligence. It can be a maddening discussion, but it is nevertheless necessary for the international community of clinicians, researchers, and authors to communicate effectively.

This book has been thoughtfully written and constructed to appeal to the clinical professional who cares for or who has a special interest in pediatric disorders of behavior and development. It will also be especially useful for teachers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and neurologists as an overview text or for use in the instruction of professionals in training.




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