Review of Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Children and Adolescents
The recently published Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Children and Adolescents: A Guide to Evaluation and Treatment, by Christopher J. Nicholls (2018), joins eight other volumes in Routledge’s Clinical Topics in Psychology and Psychiatry series. The publisher’s self-described aim of this series is to provide clinicians with focused information relevant to practice in a user-friendly format. With that goal in mind, it is easy to see why Dr. Nicholls’ work was selected for the series.
Neurodevelopmental Disorders is divided into three broad sections. The first two sections cover the importance of considering individual differences during the course of an evaluation and review major pediatric neuropsychological conditions with key thoughts related to assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. The third and final section includes practical recommendations which tie all the concepts together to produce a well-written report and cogent recommendations.
The opening chapters walk the reader through many important considerations such as heritability, perinatal factors, familial and social influences, and their impact on development and symptom presentation. While some factors such as genetics are touched on only in passing, the result is a thorough overview of the major areas skilled clinicians should explore and consider during the course of an evaluation. Also included in this initial section is a discussion on the utility and limitations of categorical and dimensional diagnoses and the impact of a diagnosis on the patient and family.
In the second main division of his work, Dr. Nicholls covers the most common conditions encountered by a neuropsychologist practicing in a community setting. Specifically, he addresses intellectual disabilities and developmental delays, disorders of attention and executive function, Autism spectrum, and social impairment as well as learning disorders. You will not find more specialized topics such as seizure disorders or traumatic brain injuries discussed, but you will gain a good foundation in the above common referrals. The chapters follow a similar pattern for each condition briefly reviewing historical factors before moving on to present day considerations of assessment, diagnosis, and intervention.
In the third and final section of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, the focus is on the practical day to day aspects of the neuropsychologist’s work; namely, how to conduct a quality assessment, produce a well-written report, and offer meaningful recommendations/interventions. The final chapter offers thoughts to consider for wide variety of readers ranging from a review of educational requirements for the neuropsychologist (aimed at those considering the field) to reminders of the importance of self-care and high standards for those experienced practitioners.
In conclusion, Neuropsychological Disorders nicely meets its goal of providing a succinct source of information that will be easily read by those at all levels of practice. My impression is that it caters more towards those early in their careers or even those still in training for neuropsychology; it would in fact, be an excellent resource for a graduate level introductory neuropsychology course. More experienced practitioners may find larger portions to be a review of familiar concepts; in addition, those seeking a review of a wider array of pediatric neuropsychological disorders will need to seek out additional resources. Nonetheless, I found that the recent nature of the literature that was cited and the skillful communication made the volume a nice refresher for neuropsychologists at all levels.
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Conflict of Interest
The author declares he has no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.